The Sound of Silence

Ssshhh!Have you ever thought about silence. You know, that awkward silence when the boss asks a question and no one answers. Or when someone says something inappropriate. Or that moment in a meeting when a co-worker makes a statement that you know to be untrue. What about when one team member throws another under the bus, so to speak. Do you speak up in such situations or remain silent? What does silence say?  Aren’t there different kinds of silence?

Can silence speak, you ask? I mean isn’t this a contradiction in terms? If you’re silent, you are not talking right? Of course there is body language, and facial expression. As an example, I have perfected, “the look”. But still there remains silence. I believe that in some situations silence screams.  Other times of course, silence is appropriate.  Sometimes, we should just be still.  In my journey on this earth, and my walk with Christ, I’m learning more and more about identifying those instance when not saying anything is the right things to do.  Sometimes I get it right.  Sometimes I don’t.  I’m betting you can relate.  Thank goodness for grace.

Consider the comfortable silence. I love little grey haired couples. They’ve been married for decades, know everything about one another, and are still sweethearts. You see them in restaurants eating together in comfortable silence. Walking hand-in-hand in sweet silence. This kind of silence screams, too. It tells us alot about the couple. They are so comfortable and intimate that they don’t need empty chatter. I’m confident that  Thad and I will be one of those sweet old couples.

Now, what about the silence of avoiding confrontation. The silence of just going along.  What does it say about us? When was the last time you spoke up in the face of injustice? When you stood up for a Biblical truth rather than follow the status quo? Told the truth despite the risk of being politically incorrect? Sometimes silence can have an eternal consequence. Wow, now there is a thought.

What started this stream of thinking is a study on the historical account of Elijah, found in  1 Kings 18. He challenged the people to stand up for what they believe in, no matter what it was. The response was silence. Not one peep is recorded of a small voice saying, “I’m going with this Baal guy.” Or, “Thinking I’m standing on my own here.” Nope. Nothing. Silence. Now that screams oodles, doesn’t it.

Courageous leaders speak up. They call out dishonesty. They model and deliver excellence. They compell others to consider their own position. They engage others in conversation that includes truth. They are not stuck in grey, but articulate the black and white of Biblical truth as is applies to the situation. And they confront silence.

As you go through this coming week, I would like you to consider confronting the silence that is born from a fear of being called out as a Christian in the marketplace. Shatter the silence with Truth. And if you are discovered as a courageous leader then good for you!

About Beth Gifford

Change agent, business executive, Pastor's wife, and mom having a great life!
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5 Responses to The Sound of Silence

  1. Pastor Thad says:

    That was really good. Something to think about!

  2. Rich Cary says:

    I resolved yesterday to spend the week meditating on Psalm 4, which also speaks to when to be silent and when to speak: “Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still…In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.” Our security in Chirst can help us be silent (such as when we feel slighted) and to speak up (when we need to lead courageously). Thanks for the thoughtful start to my week!

  3. Frank Ryan says:

    Hi Beth, interesting post. You’re right, sometimes silence speaks volumes. I understand that the media loves to sensationalize the darker sides of life and rarely do they give much time to what is good in the world. So generally the news doesn’t phase me a whole lot. This year though I’ve seen a lot of stories that revolve around silence and greatly disappoint me. The first one that jumps to mind is the Penn State scandal. How many people knew of the actual problem or even a potential problem and remained silent allowing children to be harmed in the process. Are we that self absorbed as a society that we will not as adults, step up, speak out, and take some personal risk in order to save a child in need of help? I hope not.

    Thanks for the reminder about standing up for what is right.

  4. Helen Ann Salmons says:

    Thanks for stirring my mind.

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