What does that mean? How do you reconcile this perspective with that statement? Do you know about this subject?
These are all questions that I have been asked on numerous occasions. People want answers to their questions, and they want them now!
But sadly all too often I find myself speaking before I’ve properly thought through something. My tongue is going 30mph before my brain is even in the right gear.
That’s where silence comes in, is silence really that bad?
I’m sure that you have met someone who can’t stand silence, every minute that isn’t filled feels like nails being dragged along a blackboard. Each unanswered question feels like a missed opportunity. Not knowing or not having the answers immediately can make you feel like a boat with no anchor, lost at sea at the whims of the waves.
I’m maybe a bit weird, I quite like silence, possibly because I am an introvert. But the main reason I like silence is because it gives me time; time to think, the reflect, to contemplate, to consider the outcomes and to formulate a well structured answer.
I’ll happily tell people that I’ll get back to them in a few hours or days with an answer to their question, or a time to meet up and think about it together.
Is silence really that bad?
Absolutely not, if anything it’s something that we need more of!
Imagine if we took time to tame our tongues, took time to think through our answers before our illogical argument crumbles, how different would things be?
Our culture has become demanding and quite entitled Queen summed it up with the lyrics “I want it all and I want it now”! That is the cry of our world, or at least the UK. But if we took time to pause and to think through our beliefs, our convictions and our response to certain issues in the world I think that we would be a more united and clearer voice.
This also has implications for Christians and how we approach church both on Sundays and at midweek meetings, and it has implications on how we approach celebrations (Easter, Christmas, etc.).
As a preacher and small group leader I find it so encouraging to hear and see that people in the pew have done their ‘homework’ because it leads to great conversations after the service. If we turn up to church without thinking about the passage, we will simply take the preacher at his word, but if we do our own reading and thinking at home we can ask questions. If we come with questions then we will grow in our knowledge of God’s Word and we will be able to encourage our fellow brothers and sisters with Scripture based and saturated conversations.
Taking time to be silent should also change the way we approach times in the church calendar like Easter that is just a month away. I completely understand that life is busy I’m not saying that we should spend hours a day in silent reflection, but imagine if we took just 30 minutes a day to be silent and think about Easter before it comes. If we took this time, if we pondered the meaning of Easter then I wonder if the celebration of Good Friday and Easter Sunday would be sweeter to our souls than it has ever been.
Taking time to think and to be silent is a lost discipline, not just for Christians but in modern society, we’ve been caught up in the screen culture and we cannot sit still.
Learning silence will be valuable for all areas of life. Why not start small? Take 5 minutes today and just think, take time to be silent. Next time we’re asked a question, why don’t we swallow our pride and ask people to give us a few minutes to consider our answer before we speak.
Silence doesn’t hurt, it can be a good discipline to tame our tongues, it can be a last chance to stop before we hurt a friend and it can be a discipline which allows us to be lost in wonder of the Greatness of God.