Tag Archives: Silence

I’m Keeping My Mouth Shut

Detail from Netherlandish Proverbs
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor;
    a sensible person keeps quiet.
Proverbs 11:12 (NLT)

One the reasons I value our daily venture into God’s Message is that it often reminds and keeps me from doing stupid things that I would later regret.

For example, there is a certain fool who operates within my circles of influence. I call him a fool because his actions have been consistent with those of a fool described right in the proverbs we’re reading. A while back he put himself in a high position and caused me and my pride an invisible little injury. It was not a major wound, but one of those nagging ones that starts to itch just when you think it’s healed over. Because of his foolishness, this “neighbor” of mine has given me plenty of opportunities to belittle him, and more than one opportunity to publicly humiliate him. I confess that I spent more time thinking about it than I should, but I’ve oublicly kept my mouth shut and constrained my conversation about the matter to my closest confidants.

As much as it would satisfy my pride and ego to take him down a notch or two, I have been continually reminded that my role is to forgive and not to seek out some sort of eye for an eye vengeance no matter how small the injury or the payback. This neighbor of mine is on his own journey. God is working in his life as well. I have already witnessed the truth of the proverbs as his foolishness has and will bring upon him its own negative consequences.

God is in control of the matter, and He does not need me and my desire for payback muddying up the works. It would only bolster my neighbors belief that I deserved the original injury he caused. And, it would ultimately hurt me more than it would him. So, I will keep my mouth shut, scratch the scab on the wound that itches me now and again, and choose to forgive one more time (I have a ways to go to reach the “seventy times seven” ;-)).

Chapter-a-Day James 1

Day of Silence 2007
Image via Wikipedia

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19 (NLT)

A co-worker of mine has a favorite saying she uses when coaching people who work in sales or in collections on the phone: “He who speaks first, loses.” Another friend of mine is a therapist and has another favorite saying: “Let silence do the heavy lifting.” Along with this little gem from today’s chapter in James, I find myself being very conscious of what I say and what I don’t say in meetings and gatherings. Along the journey I’ve found myself choosing to say far less in meetings and make sure that what I do say is worth saying.

I can’t think of one angry word, spoken in haste, that I did not regret.

This little command from God’s Message has been my companion since I first read it in high school. In fact, I often find myself uttering it as a prayer when going into a meeting: “God, help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.”

An apt prayer to start my day. I participate in a quarterly board meeting this afternoon.

 

Chapter-a-Day Isaiah 18

Silence is not passive. For here's what God told me: "I'm not going to say anything, but simply look on from where I live…."Isaiah 18:4a (MSG)

There have been stretches along the journey when God seems agonizingly silent. There are times when it feels like God is just sitting back and looking on. This has always frustrated me. As a father, however, I think I may be capturing some understanding of this.

As a parent, you spend much of your time heavily involved in your child's life. You talk, help, direct, correct, punish, reward, chastise and praise. It's a very active relationship, especially when your child is young. As the child grows older, more discernment is required as the child must naturally gain some independence and learn to successfully strike out on his or her own path.

Sometimes I still choose to actively speak into my daughters' lives and circumstances. There are still ways I can and will be actively engaged. Other times, however, I don't say anything but simply look on from where I live. My silence is by no means an indication of indifference. My love is not less. My concern is not absent. If anything, my personal anxiety over them is even greater as I love them enough to let them go.

God's message says that when all else passes away three things remain: faith, hope, and love. If I love my child like God loves me, then I must have the faith to let go at the right time and hope God's best for them. I must also have faith that when God, my Father, seems silent in my life, it is not because He's abandoned me. It's actually an indication of His faith, hope, and love for me.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and crazyfast