Should a Christian always keep his mouth shut? Casey Stengel, the manager of the New York Mets and director of a California bank, described his experience as a banker: “There ain’t nuthin’ to it. You go into the fancy meeting room and you just sit there and never open your yap. As long as you don’t say nuthin’ they don’t know whether you’re smart or dumb.”

Adopting a code of silence might sound like a good policy to live by, but it can work against us if we aren’t careful. While no one ever got in trouble for saying nothing, plenty of people have been hurt, cheated out of money, misled, or even killed because someone didn’t have the courage to speak up.

If you are a Christian, there will be times when you need to open your mouth and take a stand. The Bible says, “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) This means that if you know you can do what is right and you choose not to do it, then you are wrong.

When your child is about to put something harmful in his or her mouth, what do you do? You speak up and tell him no. The same should go for people who try to put untrue thoughts in your mind about others, the person who tries to get you to do something that is wrong, someone who teaches doctrines which contradict the Bible, or a child who is being disobedient. Mum shouldn’t be the word in these situations. You need to take a stand and speak up for what is right.

If you struggle in this area, ask God to give you courage. Standing up for what’s right may be one of the hardest things to do, but it is one of the best ways to please God, keep sin from spreading, and leaving a trail of painful tears.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder