I remember reading this proverb for the first time–you know really reading it, not just glossing over it–a few years ago. I found it funny and yet so true, being that I was not much of a morning person. “Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing,” (Proverbs 27:14, ESV). I couldn’t help but get the image of Homer Simpson groggily getting into his car to head to work, while Ned Flanders says in his loud voice, “Hi-diddly-ho, neighborino!”
Sometime, what is meant to be a blessing is often a cursing. It’s not that you meant for it to be a cursing; in fact, you’ve actually meant well and meant to bless those around you. But the timing was wrong. Perhaps you didn’t know the timing was bad, or perhaps you suspected, but pressed ahead. If it was the former, simply chalk it up to a lesson learned. If it was the latter, perhaps a bit of repentance would smooth things over. Two verses before this one, Solomon advises: “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it,” (v. 12, ESV). That could be the issue. Perhaps you saw the warning signs, ignored them, and bounded on with your “Hi-diddly-hos.” There’s anger, desperation, loneliness, etc. and perhaps in an effort to make everything all better, the mouth opens and the foot proceeds to get inserted. It was not what you were expecting, not what you were hoping for, and definitely not what was needed at the moment. Acknowledge it, learn from it, and move on.
Solomon wrote the lyrics for The Byrds (Turn, Turn, Turn) in Ecclesiastes 3. In there, we read that there is, “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak,” (v. 7, ESV). It could be that you have all the right things to say, but the time to say them has not come. I fall into this trap myself. I have advice, Scriptures, anecdotes, etc., but it’s simply not the right time to say them. Sometimes I see the hints and other times I don’t. The point? Timing is everything. When caught in situations where you know what to say but are not sure if it is right to say them, pray about it. Listen to the person with whom you speak. Are they ready to hear the truth, or do they need time to process what is going on? Are they speaking rationally or emotionally? But whatever you do, speak or not, do it in love.
Remember, “For everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn). And a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).