Silence. We're schizophrenic about it. While most of us are scared &/or repelled by it - spending most of our time submerged in noise - we also pick and choose when silence will be our friend. Yet, at other times we embrace silence, choosing to simply keep our mouths shut. "This is just not my business or my problem" we think. "It's just not my place to say anything". "What if I offend him?" And we definitely don't want to offend anyone! Right?
So...we befriend our enemy. Silence.
I have come to the conclusion that one of the deadliest choices and temptations we face as the Church today is our silence - the things we won't say!
Have you ever loved someone who made a mistake and you just wish they had come to you beforehand – given you some kind of indication they were about to make this life-changing mistake – so that you could stand in front of them as a brother or sister and say, “Not on my watch!” Why don’t we reach out for accountability? Do we just not want it? Does it take too much effort? Or do we just not want to admit the foul things taking root deep inside us? Maybe a little of all of the above. But James tells us to “confess our sins to each other and pray for each other so that we may be healed” (James 5:16). I think we have completely missed the point that the urgency of this is “so that we may be healed”. Not from cancer or influenza or a bad case of dandruff, but from the sin that is digging deep into our soul and plotting to destroy us. James is saying, “Get up, find a brother, cry out loudly and demand that you will not face this monster on your own. You cannot and you will not!”
Consider this: what if David had seen Bathsheeba naked, stepped off that roof, called upon a friend like Nathan or Jonathon and confessed, “My eyes, my mind and my heart are in the gutter. Pray for me and protect me.” Can you imagine? He might have avoided envy, adultery, lies and murder in one moment of confession. And in contrast, what if Paul had not taken the steps to heal the fractures between himself and Peter or himself and John Mark? Would the church have suffered? Would Paul’s ministry have been as effective? Without question, something and someone would have suffered. Most importantly, the Kingdom.
Why is honesty so hard for us? Are we just petrified of offending someone in our politically correct world? Does that pounding in our heart at the thought of confrontation or confession scare us so badly that it paralyzes our whole life? Whatever the case or the cause we have to begin to demand “honesty from the heart” (Psalm 51:6). David had to practically wreck his whole life before he discovered this. What will it take for you?
Here are some things that only the courageous will say:
"I need you to know that way you talk to your husband is belittling him, damaging your marriage & your witness, and impacting your children."
"I've seen the way you look at her. As your friend I need to ask you, 'Are you thinking things that is damaging your heart & could destroy your marriage?'"
"When you said that to me I need you to know that it hurt. I know you probably didn't mean it that way, but that's how it came out."
Here's one ONLY for the brave: "I NEED HELP!"
What is it that you just won’t say? What is it that you’re ashamed to confess or just don’t want to bother the other person with? What words have you anchored to the shore because you just refuse to rock the boat? Whatever it is, ask God to give you the words and the courage and spit it out because quite possibly, if you don’t rock the boat, you’ll just go down with the ship!
Take courage. Be brave. Break the silence!
Proverbs 16:13, 19:1, 28:23