A quote posted on social media weighed heavy on my heart last week:
“Don’t waste your words
on people who deserve your silence.
Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say
is nothing at all.”
It struck me that the perspective of not wasting words on those who deserve our silence, reflects a haughtiness of attitude that is lightyears away from God’s call to love. In fact, to say nothing at all, effectively denying the worth of the other individual, underscores the chilling observation of Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel,:
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
The truth is, silence is never golden when love is absent.
Instead, silence combined with the absence of love kills
and has great potential for hardening hearts–
yours, mine and the one being ignored.
The problem is not new. The Apostle Paul wrote about conflict in relationships and how Christ’s followers were to handle such:
“We are no longer to be children,
tossed here and there by waves
and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men,
by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
but speaking the truth in love,
we are to grow up in all aspects
into Him who is the head,
even Christ . . . .”
Ephesians 4: 14, 15
So what does it mean to speak truth in love? Is it to follow wisdom of Thumper in the classic movie, Bambi?
“If you don’t have anything nice to say,
don’t say anything at all.”
While that may be a sweet notion, God calls His own to go deeper in our relationships . . . much, much deeper.
To speak truth in love is not about niceties. It often requires:
- Sacrificial kindness–a willingness to risk being misunderstood for the good of the other.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life,
to put off your old self, which is being corrupted
by its deceitful desires . . . and to put on the new self,
created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and
speak truthfully to your neighbor . . . .”
Speaking truth in love becomes an art form over time when we remember Christ’s call to us:
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”