Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Sometimes The Best Help Is Silence

PROVERBS 25:20 – Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda.

THEME OF THE DAY. SOMETIMES THE BEST HELP IS SILENCE. Reading Proverbs daily is a particularly good spiritual discipline. And this Old Testament wisdom book is suited for doing so. There are 31 Proverbs that may be read according to the day of the month.

When it comes to the key purpose in God giving us the book of Proverbs, it is designed to provide us practical wisdom and application for our daily lives. There are profound truths to meditate upon, easily discerned steps to holy living, and vivid illustrations, like in today’s scripture, to help us be mature and wise as God’s children.

In today’s scripture we find sound advice around an insightful illustration. King Solomon identifies a well-intended person seeking to help a burdened, depressed, and heavy-hearted person – Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart. The problem, though, is that good intentions do not always equate to “good” results. In fact, if discernment is not sought and applied in our desire to help people, we may do more harm to the hurting heart in a hurting person. Consider the picture Solomon paints. Let us paraphrase the verse – “In attempting to help someone who is hurting, don’t always think we need to say something, give advice, or speak into the situation. If we do, it might be as damaging as removing someone’s coat in sub-freezing weather.”

Sometimes the best advice we give someone is silence, a listening ear to the cries and moans of a hurting heart instead of wanting to “fix” the person by offering our “words of wisdom.” This is a lesson we need to learn in a world of increasing hurt. I must confess, it is a lesson that often must be painfully learned. I remember meeting with someone who was deep in discouragement and depression. The conversation unfolded and I listened, but not enough. I quickly was ready to interrupt, describe the “solution”, and offer a good dose of scriptural truth. I was “proud of my counsel” until the response was, “I know all that. I want to do all that, but I feel like a man told to run a 100-yard dash with a broken leg. I do not need you to fix me. I just need you to listen to me.” And that has been the best feedback in my desire to help people that I ever received. It might also be something to help you as well in your good intentions to help hurting family members, fellow Christians and those who seek your help; help that might not be by words. Sometimes the best help is silence.

PRAYER: “Father, grant me discernment to know when to speak advice and when to just listen.”

QUOTE: “Though our intentions may be good, it isn’t always wise to be one full of words.”