Why not give away a piece someone would actually like to have? You know how when someone says that they are going to give you a piece of their mind, it’s generally not going to be a piece you want.
Seriously though. I know a lot of us probably have a few people in mind, who we would love to say a few choice words to on occasion. Maybe you already have. Hopefully, you bit your tongue and didn’t follow through!
It can be really hard to just keep your mouth shut and opinions to yourself. Why is it we so often think we need to prove that we are right? Or get in the last word. Or we think, well, I’m going to tell that person why I’m right, and why I think they are wrong. Because that usually goes so well, right?
We are told in Titus 3:9 “ But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. ” Most of us know that if we are discussing something with someone, who has a very different opinion about a subject than we do, no one is going to win the argument. It is unprofitable and useless. Neither of us is going to change the others mind, and in some cases, if we’re not careful, we can end up losing relationships.
James 1:19 says “My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” That can be really tough to do sometimes. Some people don’t take time to listen, and then they get angry before they even know what they’re angry about. At times, we might be those people. Attempting to follow that scripture when we are in our own strength, can be quite a challenge. But, if we are taking the time to be slow to speak we can use that time to quickly ask the Lord how He would have us respond to whatever the situation is. His response will very likely be different from what we may want to say.
Facebook or social media can also be dangerous ground. You post something that someone doesn’t like, and boom, in minutes you feel like you’re body slammed to the ground by people expressing their thoughts to your post. Often, they respond in a way that they wouldn’t, if they were face to face with you. I’m sure some of us have been guilty of doing that to some degree at one point or another.
Many times I’ve wanted to respond to something someone said, or did. I’ve had it typed out, ready to hit send, but then I have to pause, and ask myself a few questions. Is it helpful? Is it gossip? Do I know it to be true? Will someone be hurt? And most important, would Jesus approve of what I wrote? Most of the time I resist the urge to post because I know its something I should not say.
It can be easier to practice self control with the written word, than when we are in a face to face discussion with someone. You can delete what you write, but once you’ve said something, it can’t be taken back. I’ve found that if you know you are going to see those people who have very different opinions than you, it can be helpful to purpose ahead of time to avoid issues that cause arguments. If they bring up those subjects, just smile. Change the subject. Refuse to engage in arguing at all.
Let’s face it. While telling someone off or “giving them a piece of your mind” can feel really good in the short term, we know its not worth it in the long run. Sooner or later that remorse will kick in, because you really did know better than to react in anger. And if it was a friend or family member, or a work associate, you know you will have to go back and make things right between you. Otherwise, these are the kinds of things that can cause rifts for months or years or even longer.
Though in our flesh we think it feels good to lash out and get into that verbal sparring match, we know that the Bible has nothing good to say about angry, quarrelsome people. Ecclesiastes 7:9 tells us “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.”
That’s not to say that there aren’t times we need to speak the truth to someone. Or that we should never speak what’s on our mind. Especially if the Lord gives us something he wants us to speak out and share, we should be prepared to do it. It’s the way we speak, and our attitude towards those we are speaking to that I’m talking about.
How about if we just hang onto those pieces of our minds? Those are the kind of pieces no one else really wants to be given anyway!