The Blessing of Silence
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
A time to keep silent (Ecclesiastes 3:7, ESV)
Solomon’s wisdom about keeping silent remind me of Paul’s words to Timothy when he wrote God had not given him a spirit of timidity or fear but one of self-control, and what the Apostle James said about speaking. Being quick to listen and slow to speak. Sometimes our words get us into trouble when it would have been better for us to remain silent. Sometimes too many words lead us into sin which violate the eighth commandment. Sometimes our words, though well-intentioned, do more harm than good. It’s good to know when words should be applied and when they should be withheld.
It takes a tremendous amount of self-control, discernment, and discretion to know when we should speak and when we need to keep silent. Everything does not need to be addressed or responded to in that moment, and sometimes not at all. Every argument cannot be won, nor every battle fought with words. Sometimes the very best thing we can do is remain silent on a matter.
We might also think of silence a ministry. Most of us have a lot to say but sometimes the best thing we can do for someone is to listen to them. The way God listens to us so patiently; giving us his full attention we can do that for others. It is impactful when the powerful or those in authority also listen. God speaks but he also listens. Because God listens to us we can learn the art of being silent both before God and others.
Silence is a good way to learn and grow. No one knows everything so it’s good to sit in silence and observe. When we are silent we hear and see things we might not normally hear or see. God will not talk when we are talking and people will not share when we are talking (too much) but God will speak powerfully when we are silent just like people will share deeply when we are silent.
We can praise God for the gift of speech but all the more for the gift of silence.
Are you good at being silent at the appropriate times?
Praying Ecclesiastes 3:7
Holy Lord, you deserve our silence. You may be our Friend but you are also holy. Let us learn to practice silent reverence before you. Help us also to become better at being silent before others. Give us needed discernment and wisdom when it comes to speaking. Just as words can be powerful so can silence when applied at the right time. Amen