Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 16 of Lent :: Breaking Silence

There is a time to be silent
and a time to speak.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:7)
The wisdom writer of the book of Ecclesiastes said “there is a time for everything.”  There is a time to remain silent, just as Jesus did before Pilate, and steadfastly trust in God to be our shield and our defense.  There are also times to break the barriers of silence when God asks us to be the shield and defense for others.  On these occasions, we must speak up.

Few people relish conflict.  Sometimes it is easier to pretend not to hear what co-workers are saying than it is to confront them.  Although we may not be participating in the negativity or adding to the gossip or contributing to the juicy rumors, our silence does not free us from our guilt.  Although we may internally disapprove as we quietly sit listening, our silence may very well be interpreted as agreement. 

The New Testament writer, James, was writing to a group of people who had become accustomed to overlooking the less fortunate.  They had slowly been numbed by the familiarity of those in need around them.  Simply put, they responded with ignorance, silence, or worse yet, by saying “God bless and good luck,” to those in need, then quickly went on about their day.  James wrote, “if you know the good you ought to do and don’t do it, you sin.” (James 4:17)

Reflection: Are there conversations you have listened to in “silent agreement”?  Why haven’t you spoken up?  What would it be like to either remove yourself from the conversation or to lovingly speak up?  Ask God to forgive you for the occasions of “silent agreement” and to make you aware of them in the future.  There is a time to be silent, and there is a time to speak.  May we have the wisdom, discernment, and grace to not confuse the two.

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