"Speak now or forever hold your peace." Or is it "piece?" From the wedding guest seated on a hard wooden church pew the words come out the same. The officiant never stops and spells out his terminology. For the listeners the moment flies by in what is, hopefully, an uneventful standard procedure of the ceremony. The service will continue on without a hitch so long as no one raises their hand in objection.
In grammatical reality, speaking your piece and holding your peace are two different actions although they convey the same message and lead to the same ultimate end result. To "speak your piece" is to give voice to your opinion and beliefs. In other words, say what is on your mind now because this is your one final opportunity for anyone to hear it. To "hold your peace" is to keep your inner feelings close to the chest and silence your internal thoughts. In other words, have no internal peace to keep the external peace. During a wedding ceremony this is what the bride hopes her soon-to-be, can't-let-go-of-her-son, mother-in-law will do when the moment of potential disharmony arrives. The bride holds her breath in hopes that the woman in the front row with a pained look on her face will continue to reluctantly hold her peace and let the ceremony move onto the "I do's" without a hitch. For the mother in the front row skeptical of the union about to be sealed with a kiss holding her peace means not speaking her piece and ultimately having no internal peace.
Speaking one's piece and holding one's peace extend beyond marriage ceremonies. Speaking piece and holding peace are an integral part of believing truth and standing firmly in the infallible Word of God. When faced with falsehoods and Biblical compromises the truth-teller can't sit by and say nothing. They have to speak their piece, the piece of God's truth that is in jeopardy of being compromised. To hold peace in their heart, the Word of God that sheds light in darkness must be proclaimed. Distortions must be made right. Lies must be exposed. For peace to settle in the soul, spread through families and surround a city the counterfeit theology of man's wisdom must be overcome by the perfection of God's Holy Word.
It takes courage to speak one's piece in a room full of silent bystanders who are holding their tongues but the reward for such audacity is great. For those who will speak Biblical pieces of truth that are under the threat of being trampled and forgotten, God indwells with internal peace. When Christ-followers hold fast to the Word of God and stand firmly in the strictness of its statutes the reward is an internal quiet that surpasses understanding.
All around us the truth of God is under siege. From the pulpit to the front page of newspapers, the infallible wisdom of God is being compromised and abandoned for the foolishness of man. Leaders have forgotten who is King. Commentators and their opinions are given more air time than the light and life of Jesus Christ. As Christians we cannot sit by and hold our piece. Those of us who number our steps according to God's Word must stand up for the peace He brings. When you and I speak out for the Bible and refuse to be silenced the opposition will come from all sides. Even our friends seated next to us in the pew may try to hush our battle cry for the Lord but we must not stay silent. We must not sit back and hold our tongues. A say-nothing approach will ultimately bring no peace or serenity to the soul or to the body. Truth cannot reign unless truth is exposed. For God to be magnified and His peace to rule, you and I, His hands and feet on the front lines, must be willing to stand tall, act boldly and speak His piece.