A time to be silent

It is doubtful that there is any parent who hasn’t been frustrated by a child who is just determined to “have the last word.” Typically it happens close to that transition between adolescence and the teen years. No matter what is said the child has some kind of a response. It’s as if they think they just have to say something.

Have you ever wondered where they learned that trait?

The answer can probably be found in a mirror. The reason most kids think they have to say something is because most adults live by the same principle. If you are wronged, you have to say something don’t you? If you mistreated by others, you have to say something don’t you? If you are inconvenienced by others, you have to say something don’t you?

After all, this is America. We have the right to speak our minds which means you have to say something… Don’t you? He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” —Isaiah 53:7

Jesus was wronged, mistreated, and inconvenienced and he chose to say nothing. It must be understood that there was plenty Jesus could have said. He could have exposed the error of the Pharisees and the Scribes—he often did. He could have exposed the corruption of the Jewish government. He could have opened his mouth and called thousands of angels. But when the time came for Jesus to suffer for us, he chose to say nothing.

There is a challenge to live a Christ-like life in his example concerning the tongue. While people today think there are times “you just have to say something,” Jesus showed there are times where the best response is to keep quiet. He felt no pressure to “say something,” whether it was in the barracks while being mocked, on the road to Calvary while being spat upon, or on the cross between two criminals. He suffered silently in order to do the will of God.

The scriptures have several passages that suggest silence is the preferred choice. Consider a couple:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;—James 1:19

Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.—Proverbs 17:27–28

Perhaps the words of the wise man show us best the value of saying nothing: “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent” (Prov. 17:28).

The next time you feel compelled to “say something”—whether it be in an email, in a conversation, on Facebook, in a text, etc.—consider the value of saying nothing first. It may be the best way others can see Christ living in us.