After two years of incessant chiding to “mute your mic!”, when my husband asserted that his cynical reply to someone's social media post was appropriate, I jokingly said to him “oh gosh keep your mic muted nah!”, and we both fell out laughing. Despite the humorousness of my retort, we admitted that in it there was an important lesson, that is, you do not need to and should not respond to everything. More importantly, choose wisely the words that you speak.
It is unquestionable that not everything deserves a response. Although you may think the thought or feel the compulsion to speak up, there are circumstances that warrant you to keep your microphone (mic) muted.
We made it through the plethora of virtual everything during the throes of the pandemic and the frequency with which we heard the phrase “please mute your mic” is innumerable. If you think that an unmuted mic was bad in a business meeting or social gathering, there was no worse place for the errant and unschooled ‘zoomer’ than Online Church.
I wondered how pastors felt preaching their hearts out while hearing pots and pans knocking around in the background because a sister who was probably swizzling her callaloo didn’t realise that she was unmuted. On the other hand, there was the brother who purposefully and constantly turned on his mic to cut across the voice of the preacher with ‘amens’ and ‘hallelujahs’, much to the annoyance of the rest of the congregation.
Whether we chuckled or were bothered by the unwelcomed sounds that came pouring through someone’s unmuted mic, one ought to embrace the wisdom in knowing the times to say nothing.
The words that we speak can instigate breakthroughs and victory. Likewise, they can be used as a weapon by the enemy to damage and destroy.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue… (Proverbs 18:21a).
I’ve always believed that we are not as careful with our words as we ought to be. In this generation of easy, expansive, and often times faceless communication, people take the liberty to say whatever they want, to whomever, in whichever way they feel. That’s not right.
Sticks and stones hurt, but wounds that are caused by spoken words hurt much more and take much longer to heal. Careless words spoken have derailed many lives and imparted actual bodily harm. In January of 2020 a US court convicted Michelle Carter of manslaughter after she encouraged her then-boyfriend to take his life. Words have an impact.
“but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8)
We always have a choice in situations where we feel that we need to respond or retaliate. Those who feel that they were appointed to comment on every situation, the ‘Mr./Ms. put to right’ must understand that it is perfectly reasonable conduct to observe or hear something that you object to and just keep on moving.
This saying by and large remains sage advice, "if you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything". I live by this. Enough evil and disaster are plaguing our world such that we ought to be light and salt by the words that we speak to others.
Like most post-partum mothers, I was a little insecure about my body as I returned to work. However, one day a simple yet sincere comment by a team member that I looked nice, brought a huge grin to my face. You never know people’s stories or insecurities and therefore we ought to do our best to lift our brothers and sisters with words of love and compassion. We don’t need the details of anyone’s story because we know for a fact that everyone has a story, a struggle, or a battle.
Help people fight by speaking uplifting words into their souls; give them the extra nudge that they need to take one more step. Let them hear hope in your words and resilience in your tone. Do this even when you feel broken because you lift yourself when you lift up others.
If you happened to obtain one of my devotionals you’ll see that a favourite scripture of mine is Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
My advice is not just to think about those types of things, but to speak about them. Look for the good in every situation and if necessary, be the one person to find something worthwhile to say, if you feel that you must say something.
This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. (1 John 3:11)
My conviction about these principles is reflected in the very heart of this blog; to share love, encouragement, and support to a lost and broken world.
Live your love by the words you speak.
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