There are times that we are struck by the weight of words--heard or read. But, there are also times when silence speaks loudly. The silence I have in mind is the absence of certain elements or patterns of speech. Sometimes, we may be (even unconsciously) impacted by what we don’t hear someone saying. In other words, a person’s character and influence (at least in part) can be known and felt by things we continually don’t hear them saying. For, sometimes, silence speaks.
We may hear an invitation to confide in someone because we do not hear them gossip, slander, demean, or wrongfully criticize another.
We might learn gratitude and graciousness from a friend by the absence of complaint, grumbling, and constant comparisons.
We can hear a brother’s purity and propriety by the silence of anything crass, vulgar, or obscene.
We can listen to a sister’s reverence for God by the absence of careless words and coarse, disrespectful references to God.
The Lord Jesus was no stranger to speaking by silence. His silent pause with the self-righteous Pharisees and the absence of condemning rhetoric with the woman caught in adultery heralds his wisdom, patience, and gentleness (John 8:1-11). On trial, his silence before the false accusers declared his faith in the Father (1 Peter 2:22-23). And, on the cross his silence among the mockers and scoffers proclaimed his love as our Substitute and Savior (Isaiah 53:1-7; Matt 27:27-30, 35-44).
If we listen carefully, we can hear silence speaking.
So, what will you not say today that will sound like Jesus and prove helpful to someone else?
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.