Leave it to a mother’s wisdom. Mine said the same thing that yours said: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.”
Don’t tell me you never heard that, because I know that you did. But here’s the question: Did you take that advice? Or, even more to the point, do you take it now?
I think of the story of Job in the Old Testament. If you are not familiar, let me give you a quick synopsis. Job was a wealthy man with a great family. He had been greatly blessed by God. But God allowed Satan to test Job. He lost his children and all of his possessions. And finally he became sick himself. Job was a mess. He was all alone with his wife. He did not know what to do.
But Job had three friends who came to be with him. Most of the time, we think of them in negative terms, but the fact is that they must have heard of Job’s situation, got together and came to help. And for the first few days, they did just that. The Bible says they sat with Job quietly, not saying a word for seven days. They simply sat with their friend to give him comfort and support.
Unfortunately, they could not keep it up. Job was the first one to speak. He began to ask questions and did not understand why he was in such pain. And he cried out to God and his friends. One by one they began to speak. The problem was that they did not have the full information. They thought they knew everything, but they were in the dark.
Did you ever not know what to say but went ahead and said it anyway? That is exactly what they did.
One by one, Job’s three friends began to accuse him of wrongdoing and having a wrong attitude. And one by one, they just made things worse. They did not have anything good to say, but they talked incessantly. They said the same things over and over and did not help the situation.
Today, we have so many means by which to communicate. It’s not just in person and on the phone. No, you can tweet, post on Facebook and do all types of online posting in such a way that you can get your message out in a hurry. But the problem is that once you post it, you never can get it back.
So what’s my point? I’m playing the role of your mother. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything. Be careful with your words. Words have the power to help. They also have the power to hurt and to harm.
So which will it be — blessing or cursing? It really is up to you.