Why We Need to Shut Our Mouths

My Interview Question

I was being interviewed to work at Best Buy one day when the manager asked me a very important question: How do you deal with people who give you problems? Right away I thought, well, I can just tell him what I do in ministry and hopefully he will accept that answer. So I told him that when someone gives me a hard time, I try to not assume it’s a direct hit towards me. I let things cool down and ask the individual if anything is wrong. Assuming is never good. This individual could be going through something very difficult.

After I finished my spiel, his face looked like he had just found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. He nodded his head and said, “Hmm…never assume. Ask before making a judgment.” He seemed to have accepted my answer quite well. Little did he know that this principle comes right out of the Bible.

Ask Before Going to War

There’s a story in Joshua that always makes me think of this very important principle we find in James 1:19, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Israel had 12 tribes (the tribe of Manasseh was split into two). The tribe of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh wanted to help the nation conquer the land and later go back to another land that they preferred. After Israel was settled in the land of Canaan, Joshua let these three tribes go by saying in Joshua 22:5, “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

So they went on their way but before they left the land, they built an altar. This altar served to be a memorial so that generations to come would remember that these three tribes are also part of God’s people. The rest of the nation; however, did not see it like that. They saw the altar from a distance and thought they were rebelling against God. So what did they do? They came prepared to fight a war against them.

After the leaders of the nation harassed them and put them down, the three tribes spoke up and told them the truth. Once they heard the truth, the leaders said, “My bad! We thought you were rebelling against God. Alright, we’re cool.” Then they sheepishly went back to their homes.

When We Don’t Shut Our Mouths

How many of us have been in this situation? We keep talking and talking. We assume and judge but when we let the other person tell their story, we realize our assumptions were drastic and unrealistic. In fact, many times it is not about us at all. Can our assumptions be correct? Yes! However, they’re not always correct.

Next time someone stops answering you, or it seems like they are doing something to annoy and irritate you, don’t assume it’s a direct hit. Don’t assume they are rebelling against God. Pray for God to give you patience, approach them, ask them for the truth, and shut your mouth. We all need to shut our mouths sometimes. It’s essential to maintain healthy relationships. After we learn to shut out mouths, we must listen. If only we learn to listen more, we would see things more clearly, understand each other better, and do less gossiping.


  1. In what ways do you need to be quick to listen and slow to speak?
  2. What person(s) do you need to approach and simply ask for the truth?
  3. Ask God for strength to do this.

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