Silence Isn’t Always Golden

The common phrase, “silence is golden” has been a staple of conventional wisdom tracing back through many centuries and cultures to the ancient Egyptians. And to this day, mothers have proved faithful to pass down a similar piece of advice to their children:

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!”

It is true that holding your tongue will often speak louder in certain situations than letting it loose. Especially in times when we might be a little hot under the collar. “Biting our tongue” will likely prevent a regrettable moment of hurt or stupidity. This path is always a safer way to go.

There are times however where silence can be ripe with misunderstanding and frustration. Lacking information, we tend to fill the holes with our own fears and insecurities. Relationships will go through times of difficulty and disappointment. It is inevitable. Each of us is fully capable of letting the other person down. In these instances, silence left too long will often make the situation worse.

In Matthew 5, Jesus offered a unique take on these situations,

“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person.

Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”

We normally place the burden of reconciliation on the one who carries the offence. We want them to work through their stuff and repent. After all, it’s their problem right? Why should I take the “walk of humility” towards them, when they are angry with me? I did nothing to warrant this!

Here, Jesus flips it and puts the onus of responsibility on the one who is not offended! In effect he says, “Be the first to make peace”. Leaving silence to rule the day is not an option for Jesus. Rather, peace is more important than pride. Reconciliation is more valuable than being right. God calls us to this lifestyle, because that’s what He does. God has always taken the first step towards people, for peace.

“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” – 1 John 4:10

“…our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies…” – Romans 5:10

I’m really glad God did not stay silent, even though our sin caused us to carry the offense against Him. If you aren’t quite sure about that, consider Genesis 3. Ask yourself, “who was searching for who” after the first act of sin? Ever since, God has continued to search for people, far past the gates of Eden.

If you are left standing in silence, and it is not golden, ask God to give you grace to take the first step. He will help you, because that’s what He does.

He is good at it.

<Reposted from “faithwalk” at newhopeottawa.ca>

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