“Silence as Wisdom”

This Weeks Meditation:  “Silence as Wisdom”
Read: Job 13:1-5; Proverbs 10:19, 17:28

So often it is a temptation to just “say what is on our mind.”  In some cases this can be a good thing, it’s important to speak truth, share wisdom, and to impart common sense.  But there are also times it serves us better to just be silent.

When Job’s friends in the Old Testament first came to him after his tragedies they simply grieved with him in silence. Then when they tried tell Job the reasons for his heartbreak they started to share their own opinions.  In Job 13:15 Job says, “If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom.”

In Proverbs, Psalms, and other places in scripture we are reminded that silence is often a good thing.  Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”  Perhaps we should take these verses to heart the next time we are ready to impart our voice.

It is often said that the best thing we can do for people who are hurting is just to be there for them and not necessarily try to say many words.  Sometimes the presence of a person or the presence of a moment can speak louder than what we might say.

I recently read an interview with Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully in which he described a historic sporting event that he was broadcasting.  He said that when Hank Aaron hit his record breaking 715th homerun in 1974 he actually took his headset off and walked around the pressbox so that his words would not spoil the historic moment and the noise of the crowd.

He stayed away from the mic for a whole minute and forty seconds before continuing.  He said, “I gathered my thoughts so that I could say something intelligible when I returned.”  Perhaps that’s a good habit for all of us to try.

In moments of silence there is power.  Power for God to speak, power for us to receive wisdom, power for human connection, and power to accept peace in a very busy and hurried world.  Yes, it is a blessing to be able to speak, but it can also be a blessing to cultivate silence.  May the Lord give us restraint to listen, courage to speak, and the wisdom of when to use them both.

Make it personal:  If you struggle with sharing your opinion too quickly or speaking more than listening, try using Vin Scully’s approach.  Build in a minute or two buffer in which you ask Christ what should be spoken and what should be left silent.

Blessings in your week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church