‘There is…a time to be silent and a time to speak.’ Ecclesiastes 3:1; 7 NIV
The Bible has a lot to say about not criticising and passing judgment. But there are times when silence isn’t ‘golden’, it’s deadly. For example: (1) Silence is deadly when you use it as a passive, retaliatory means of expressing your anger or displeasure. That’s called ‘emotional manipulation’. Jesus said, ‘If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.’ (Matthew 18:15 NKJV) Jesus is recommending pretty assertive behaviour by commanding us to take the initiative in addressing the ‘trespass’. Trespassing is the unauthorised crossing of a boundary, and many times we feel like we’ve been trespassed against or wronged. However, rather than addressing the issue directly with the offender, we resort to sulking and pouting. Jesus says, ‘Don’t do that!’ Your lack of communication can leave the wrongdoer unaware of their behaviour and make them more likely to repeat it. (2) Silence is deadly when you fail to defend someone against unwarranted criticism or vicious rumours. Don’t let fear of alienation and rejection cause you to let slander and character assassination go unchallenged, especially when you’re aware of facts to the contrary. (3) Silence is deadly when it results in your making an undesirable decision by default. The fact is, silence can indicate consent. Prayer was taken out of public schools in the United States because the majority stayed silent instead of speaking up. The Scripture says, ‘There is…a time to be silent and a time to speak.’ So have the courage of your convictions and speak up!
SoulFood: Lev 23:26–25:55, Luke 2:41–52, Ps 74:1–11, Prov 2:6
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021
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