The Power of Silence

There is a beauty in remaining silent – some people may never experience this beauty because they have been unable to keep; ever.

I have had a lot to say in the past few weeks – about a lot of different issues. I have limited myself in sharing views because in reality, not everything needs to be shared.

When I was in primary school, my teacher asked the class to solve an equation without using calculators. For about 3 minutes, straight, everyone was shouting answers at him, as I sat down and observed. I figured someone would get the answer sooner than later. In my silence I noticed how everyone was getting tired of mentioning the wrong numbers over and over again. I eventually voiced out the answer in my mind, and I was right! I have never forgotten that moment, not because of the fans I got, but because it I knew I would have never guessed it right.

The Bible throws light on the issue of silence. It talks about when to speak, how to speak, etc. Let me throw a number of verses here to make a point;

“A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even tempered.”

– Proverbs 17:27-28

This speaks to when one is angry or upset about an issue. In such moments, there are people who need to hear ‘a piece of your mind’, there are people who need to know you are boiling inside, and there are so many things to say. And yet, we all want to be wise people.

“For everything there Is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…  A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak…”

-Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 7

This verse needs no further explanation. A practical example was when I offended a friend of mine. I kept trying to apologize and get the relationship back on track but.. (sigh)… it all came to naught. Instead of intruding on her healing process and disturbing her life, that was a good time to be silent, and refrain from (pathetic attempts) to mend the relationship. God being God, He fixed things in His time and in His way, no thanks to me!

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: you must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”

-James 1:19

Again, no explanations needed. Though I will use this verse to throw in something. When you are facing a challenge or struggle – silence is one of your best options. Personally, I ask God a lot of questions. Especially when I don’t understand my situation (or rather, when I am refusing to understand it). In silence, I am submitting my confusion and discomfort to God and acknowledging his sovereignty in the situation, being slow to speak ‘at’ or ‘against’ Him, but quick to hear what He has to say about my life.

I could go on but I’ll make my point instead. There is wisdom in remaining silent in every scene of life unless you have been instructed to speak, otherwise, speaking will be foolishness. Staying silent isn’t always positive. You may be withholding a solution by choosing to be silent when your voice needs to be heard. In such a case, you may be altering someone’s destiny, withholding another person’s freedom, etc. (Yes, it is that deep)

Deliberately remaining quiet helps me identify the flaws in my thoughts and actions. It is similar to taking a step back and looking at a situation – I see a lot more than I would have, if I were walking all over the place.

Personally, when I don’t say something, I get the opportunity to mull over what I would have said. I am able to dissect my thought, pull out its root, decipher the motive behind it, and assess the kinds of reactions or effects that thought would have made if I had shared it. I realise in most of these times, that what I had to say would have been an unnecessary contribution to the discussion (physical or virtual).

For me, it is these silent moments that outline major points of growth in my life. Being silent benefits me more than it benefits those who would have had to suffer the burden of listening to me (or reading my posts/tweets/statuses).

Then, there are times when I know sharing a thought could have changed someone’s situation but I am unsure whether or not I should. With this in mind, things are not cut in stone – when to speak and when not to speak. It helps to be led by the Holy Spirit (as with everything else).

I am still learning where to draw the line, and when to voice my thoughts. In learning, I see silence can be so powerful, ushering you to the tipping point of maturity. Or powerful enough to lead you down a path of nonchalance.

I pray you choose the former.

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