We may not often realize this, but silence speaks, sometimes louder than words.
“One of the finest means of communication is saying nothing.” –Adrian Rodgers
Silence can say “I love you”, as much as saying “I love you” can say “I love you”. Not to undermine words, but listening to someone is one of the most important parts of friendship. Everyone wants to be heard. As a friend, I’m really no good if I’m talking all of the time. Listening to someone tells them that you care about what they have to say; more importantly, it tells them that you care about them. I don’t think we listen enough: to our friends, to our parents, (and that works the other way too. Parents don’t listen to their children), and especially to God.
Conversation for human beings has always had two main elements: speaking and listening. Why does a conversation with God only contain one of those elements? It seems to me like prayer has become one sided in our day and age. Think about it. How many times can you recall spending three minutes praying and asking God for this and thanking Him for that? We praise; we repent; we intercede; but do we listen? God wants to hear your voice, but He wants you to hear His as well. We need to listen more.
Not just when we pray, we need to listen when we read His Word, when we sit under preaching or teaching of His Word, and when we go about our normal, daily lives. To truly have communion with The Father, we need to listen to what He has to say. By this, we show Him that we love Him and care about His Word, His commands, and His promises.
Listen to God more, but also, listen to others. The best thing you can do for a friend is to listen to them. Even if you don’t have a particular interest in the topic, just listen. It will strengthen your friendship and let your friend know that you care, and that they can trust you with their words.
Words are powerful. In words, we store information; that information means something to us. Words are our way of relating our feelings. This one may hurt a little, but, whenever you say or do something to upset your friend, listen to their screaming and yelling. When they get defensive over something said or done, listen to them, don’t continue to push a lemon wedge into an open wound.
I can’t speak for every person, and often times this is caused by pride, but when I become defensive and try to justify my actions and myself, I do so because I care so much about people that I don’t want them to think badly of me. So, when someone verbally attacks me, whether in front of my friends, or perhaps they are one of my friends, if I keep silent and take the abuse, I’m sending the message that I don’t care enough about what that person thinks of me to defend myself. However, should I speak up and that person not listen, they are sending the message that they don’t care enough about me to hear what I have to say.
Words are powerful when we use them correctly, but silence is just as powerful. When we can discern, (there’s my favorite word), when to use our words and when to remain silent, we will have discovered the secret of life, the secret of friendship, the secret of relationships. Don’t be afraid to speak, but know when to listen.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist