I am not known to keep my mouth closed when I see issues which need addressing. And I will admit, in former years, I did not use discernment in when to speak and when to remain silent. I offended a lot of people. I hurt them and relationships got uncomfortable due to my lack of discretion. I was left wondering if I was wrong in saying something. I questioned myself almost always when the passion faded from the thought.
But as I’ve matured in my spiritual life, I try to pray on things before I open my mouth. I let more stuff go than most give me credit for, but if I feel impressed to speak up, I do. And the results are often not any different than when I don’t use discretion. I offend. Relationships get uncomfortable. But here’s what doesn’t happen as much anymore. I don’t question if I should have spoken up. I don’t wonder if I was wrong in saying something.
Today, I was helping my daughter videotape some soccer skills for her Youtube channel. As I was holding the phone, she got an Instagram notification. I went into mom mode, itching to stop filming so I could click on the message. When she walked back over to retrieve the phone, I asked her to open up Instagram. Together, we read the message:
@”People are hurting and if candy coating the truth helps them cope, let them be.”
I was clueless what this meant so I asked for my daughter to explain. Long story short: Some kpop artist committed suicide and was clearly not a believer based on his own acknowledgment. Yet the astounding thought was he was in heaven because he was a good kid. My daughter lovingly shared with her IG followers the gaps in that thought. And where most people responded kindly (this was the worst message she received), most were astounded she would come to such a conclusion. When asked why she thought not all go to heaven, she shared God’s word. Her heart was breaking that so many had no idea how about their eternity.
Total transparency…..I was amazed she had been so bold, especially on social media where people bravely crucify you behind the safety of their computer screen. Could I have lovingly told someone what scripture actually said about eternity in that situation, knowing I might get nasty responses? It made me think.
Would I have stayed quiet so I wouldn’t have appear “less Christian?”
We take a vow of silence more than we care to admit. Loved ones in our lives are hopelessly lost and though we know we have the only message of hope, we remain silent. God has placed us in the paths of certain people and even though we are given chance after chance to speak truth to them, in love, we stay silent and hope our presence in their lives will be enough; and sometimes it is, but often times it’s not. We don’t want to offend. We don’t want to push them away so we smile and nod our heads as they spiral further away from God.
Is that type of silence a godly response?
I recall the time when a dear friend had to make the decision to speak to me about the double life I was living. I was the Executive Director of a Nonprofit Ministry. I had clearly walked away from the church. During this time, I could be very hostile and mouthy. She knew I may never speak to her again, but she knew I needed to hear truth. She was the first person who was brave enough to asked me if I was truly a Christian or just one in theory.
My friend didn’t remain silent when many did. I know God used her to bring me to the starch realization that I was lost. I am thankful she was bold enough to speak up because she knew my eternity was at stake.
I often hear remarks that Jesus didn’t argue. He rarely spoke up. He simply loved those around Him and remained silent. People give an example of this godly attribute when Jesus remained silent in the face of His accusers before His death. But let me remind you He knew it was His purpose to die for our sins. He remained silent in order to finish what He was sent to do.
But during His life, Jesus drove thieves out of the temple with a whip and told them not to make His Father’s house a house of trade. (John 2:15) When Satan tried to temp Him during His 40 days in the wilderness, Jesus spoke the Word to the tempter. “It is written….” (Matthew 4:4)
And His followers did just the same. Paul is described as confounding and proving (Acts 9 and 22), reasoning and disputing (Acts 17:22), arguing, dialoguing and persuading because his ministry was described as the “defense and confirmation of the gospel.” (Phil 1:1).
I often wonder if the Disciples would have remained silent, where would we be now? Are we truly going to stay silent when the world so desperately needs TRUTH and we have it to give.
There is a time and place to remain silent, and I can easily confuse those times like anyone else, but being silent when those we love are bound for an eternity of separation from Abba should break our hearts and give us the courage to speak up.
Silence is not always godly.