16 Times to Hold Your Tongue

Posted by | September 13, 2017 | For Pastors, Personal Life | No Comments
Man holding his hand over his mouth to be quiet

Yes, even pastors need to “hold their tongues”. I have a Psalm I like to quote during these times. I actually turn this verse into a prayer.

Psalm 141:3 – “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

How many situations and circumstances could be better if I would just learn to hold my tongue? How many lives would be impacted if I would just learn to hold my tongue? (You might want to read James 3 again.)

Here are sixteen times that it is best to just remain silent.

  1. When you have a criticism about a church service or ministry leader. It will only be destructive to call someone else’s attention to the flaw you have noticed.
  2. When you’re tempted to say, “I told you so.”
  3. When you want to complain about the weather, the traffic, the policy, the president, your spouse, your kids or your grandkids. Think about how grumbling affects others, and choose to focus on the positive.
  4. When you are criticized. A response may be called for, but it is usually best not to give it in the heat of the moment.
  5. When you have information that makes someone look bad.
  6. When someone is upset about a problem or something that happened and you have had a similar experience. Relate what you went through only if your objective is to pass on something you learned. Be sure that you are not shifting the focus of the conversation to yourself.
  7. When you are tempted to judge or criticize someone.
  8. When a friend’s situation would make a great point in the conversation, but you don’t have permission to share the story with others. Violated TRUST is extremely hard to regain.
  9. When you are tempted to correct someone on a minor point as they relate a story or experience.
  10. When you think someone has made a poor decision but it is too late for him or her to change his or her mind. Just keep it to yourself.
  11. When you are tempted to tell something about yourself for the purpose of impressing someone.
  12. When you have information that might discourage others.
  13. When you are not sure of the accuracy of your information. It’s better to check your information and check your source.
  14. When you are in a conversation and you are tempted to be defensive. It’s best to just keep listening.
  15. When you are with someone who has just lost a loved one. It’s probably best to just hold your tongue. You can say, “I love you and I’m praying for you.” or “I’m here for you.”
  16. When you are angry. It’s best to hold your tongue. You almost never say anything helpful when you are angry.

Pastor, here is one time you really do want to speak up. Speak up when you are feeling drained, exhausted, conflicted, hurting, and lonely. Care for Pastors is here for you.

About Robert White

Dr. Robert White was raised in central Florida and completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida. After college, he completed the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees at Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. For more than 40 years he has served as pastor of churches in Florida and in Massachusetts. He served as adjunct professor at the Orlando Extension Center of Luther Rice Seminary, teaching Bible and Theology for 15 years. He taught classes for the certificate program of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served on the New Work Council of the Greater Orlando Baptist Association and the Pastor Support Team of the Ridge Baptist Association. In October 2016, Dr. White joined the counseling staff of Care For Pastors. He currently resides with his wife, Kaye, in Davenport, Florida.

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