Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Knowing When to Keep My Mouth Shut

And Pilate inquired of Him, Are You the King of the Jews? And He replied, It is as you say.
And the chief priests kept accusing Him of many things.
And Pilate again asked Him, Have [a]You no answer to make? See how many charges they are bringing against You!
But Jesus made no further answer at all, so that Pilate wondered and marveled. (Mark 15:2-5, AMP)

In my private time, I have been reading the Gospel of Mark.  I have found myself amazed at the amount of time it has taken me to dig deep into this, the shortest version of the four Gospels.  While brief, Mark still has much to discover.

This is certainly not the first time I have read the Gospel of Mark.  Yet, I found myself particularly curious when I came to the fifteenth chapter, discovering something completely new.  In Mark's description of Jesus appearing before Pilate, within the same hearing, Jesus has both a time where he speaks up and another where he keeps his mouth shut.  He responds to Pilate's questions, but not to the false accusations of the Pharisees.  While it may be a detail that many of us would at first miss, you can see that there is a huge difference between the two ways of being addressed.  These separate behaviors do not warrant the same response.

There are so many amazing things about our Savior.  In His crucifixion and the hours leading up to it, I continually find myself in awe of Jesus' controlled power.  He could have taken the lives of Pilate, the Pharisees and everyone else in that palace with just a word.  Instead, he moved forward in complete obedience to the Father's plan.  He acted in a completely forthright way rather than with selfish indignation.

In Ecclesiastes 3:7, Solomon reminds us that there is a time to speak-up and a time to shut-up.  Jesus not only knew that well, he also had the discernment to be aware of which was appropriate at the time.  Now, by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, that same wisdom is readily accessible to us.

As the mother of children with special needs, I need to be more like Jesus.  I should be ready to answer questions like Christ did with Pilate, but ignore false accusations like He did with the Pharisees.  Before I get into a tussle with the school, I need to pray about whether God would have me speak up about it.  When I question myself on whether to call the doctor, I need to pray for the Holy Spirit's wisdom to move me in one direction or another.

A wise friend of mine taught me a number of years ago to examine situations by asking, "Is this a hill to die on?"  In other words, we each need to determine whether an issue at hand warrants our response.  If we raise our voices at every little thing, people tend to tune us out.  If we respond to misguided comments (false accusations) about our family circumstances, we look defensive and give the ignorant credibility.  At the same time, if we do not speak up when we should, we relinquish our serious duty as the stewards of these precious children.

Yes, each of us, including myself, need to call on that Jesus-power within us when it comes to guiding our speech.  With that guidance, we will gain the victory that God intended for us.

Pray:  "Lord, put Your arm around my shoulder, and your hand over my mouth!"  Help me to know when to speak, and when to keep silent.


Footnotes:
  1. Mark 15:4 Capitalized because of what He is, the spotless Son of God, not what the speaker may have thought He was.

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