At some point in time, every one of us has had someone say the following statement to us. If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all. More than likely it was your mother. It is one of those golden statements that you say to your children and they will say it to their children. The reason being is because it is such a truthful statement. There is enough negativity in our world and in our lives that we do not need to add to all the negativity.
There are times when the best thing we can do is to just shut our mouth. This is not just a “momma always said” statement. It actually originates with God. There has been several times where God would command or cause people to stop talking. There are two prominent instances of this occurring. The first when the people of Israel were about to take their first city in the promised land. God told them to walk around the city of Jericho one time each day. But there was an additional stipulation, while you walk, you do not talk. Whether it was inspired by God or just the wisdom of Joshua, there was a purpose to not allowing the people to talk.
Our human nature is to focus on the negative. It is one thing to notice the negative but it is an entirely different issue to focus on the negative. It is easy when you are stuck in traffic to notice that you are going to be late getting to your meeting or just to get home. We all notice things like that. Everything changes though when you begin to verbalize your frustration. You start yelling at other cars. Then you hit the gas hard and slam on your brakes to keep others from getting in front of you. The longer it goes on the more you grumble and complain and the angrier you get.
Joshua gave them the commandment not to speak because he did not want them grumbling and complaining. God was about to do a great miracle in their lives and the only thing that could mess it up would be for them to start murmuring among themselves. The enemy, Satan, knows that if he can get us focusing and speaking negatively about our circumstances that eventually we will lose our faith in God. This does not mean we put on rose colored glasses and call everything good when everything is truly bad. This just means do not give voice to your thoughts that are negative. Giving them voice is feeding your thoughts and making them stronger. We should just follow our Biblical examples and shut our mouths. This could be regarding what God has asked us to do, others around us, or our own circumstances. In the somewhat translated words of God, if you don’t have anything nice to say then shut your mouth.
When the angel appeared to Zacharias to tell him he was about to have a son Zacharias questioned the angel and asked how this could really happen. When Zacharias asked for a sign the angel of God replied – you will be dumb – that is, unable to speak – until the baby is born. Zacharias went the entire pregnancy unable to speak until the baby was born and named John. This was not the commandment of the leader of Israel. This came from God Himself. God made a huge statement here saying do not give voice to your unbelief. Or, in the somewhat translated words of God, when in doubt, shut your mouth.
There are plenty of good things to say about life, our walk with God, or the people that God has put around us. Speak only those things that are good, pure, wholesome and bring glory to God. If you cannot find something good, pure or wholesome to say, then just do not say anything at all. There is power in the spoken words. Let your words be words of encouragement, hope, and love. Then stand back and watch as your life is filled with those same things that you spoke. If more proof is needed Jesus said, “That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea…he shall have whatsoever he saith.” Mark 11:23