“Why aren’t people listening to me?” Do you ever ask yourself that question as you launch into your next promotion or tirade? There is a reason, and it has less to do with the verbal picture and more to do with the lack of definitive boundaries around that picture. I am greatly concerned with the irrefutable fact that the more we are talking about our pet politician, soap box issue, or random YouTube video, we are losing our God-given target audience. God reminds us that this is not just undesirable but wrong: “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise” (Pr. 10:19).
In the online aftershocks of verbose earthquakes for which we are all reeling right now, we need, as one author put it, “silence to be able to touch souls.” The purpose of this post is not to do away with words or ignore the need to stand up and speak up, but to assert that the sheer volume of our communication often hinders us from discreetly doing so when truly needed.
Here are a few quotes on silence (talk about an oxymoron) to encourage you to realize that often less is more on the mouth front:
- “A meaningful silence is always better than meaningless words.” ~Unknown
- “Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.” ~Francis Bacon
- “Talk is cheap because the supply is always greater than the demand.” (Goestch)
- “Well-timed silence is the most commanding expression.” ~Mark Helprin
- “Silence: the best way to let someone know they did wrong.” ~Unknown
- “Great souls suffer in silence.” ~Friedrich Schiller
- “The lion doesn’t turn around when the small dog barks.” ~African Proverb
- “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” ~Leonardo da Vinci
- “In silence, I rediscover who I am.” ~J. Francis
- “God never gives us discernment to criticize, but that we may intercede.” ~Oswald Chambers
- “Silence can never be misquoted.” ~Calvin Coolidge
- “Silence is as deep as eternity; speech, shallow as time.” ~Thomas Carlyle
- “Silence and smiles are two powerful tools. Smiles are the way to solve any problems and silence is the way to avoid many problems.” ~Unknown
- “Your silence is loudest to those who love you most.” ~Steve Maraboli
- “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” ~John Maxwell
- “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” ~Abraham Lincoln
- “We are fascinated by words, but where we meet is in the silence between them.” ~R. Dass
Why aren’t more people listening to you and me? Could it be that we need to become “more fluent in silence” before giving a well-timed, succinct verbal utterance? Dynamic, moving music is the combination of not only harmonious notes but skillful sequences of the audible and inaudible moments. Stop spewing and oversharing. Start with silence and stay with silence until directed otherwise. This removes the flesh, pride, and irritation for all of us compulsive/chronic antagonists. In its place, silence positions us to speak Spirit-led, biblically based words that are “spirit and life” (Jn. 6:63). Truly silence is one of the greatest “arts” of conversation! To become gold-tongued requires definitive “frames of silver” that mute much of our meandering conversations and amplify our rare moments of treasured expression.
Pr 25: 11″ A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
Do you have a certain “framework” that protects you from misspeaking or over-speaking? Would you please share?