John T. Willis

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


As we continue our thoughts on the significance of SPEECH, at the very top of the list is the importance of SILENCE. Of course, it is often very appropriate to speak in various situations about various circumstances. At the same time, OFTEN the most important action to pursue is SILENCE. Here are a few thoughts. I would deeply appreciate YOUR thoughts about this important aspect of SPEECH.

1. God is our Creator, Lord, Sustainer, Help, and Guide. We are his creatures, the recipients of God's blessings and gifts, people who need to learn from God daily. Thus, our major role is to LISTEN--to HEAR--to BE SILENT before God so we can hear his voice.
Habakkuk 2:20 declares:
"The Lord is in his holy temple;
It is so easy for us human beings to keep busy and talk, talk, talk, when we need to be calm, settle down, and listen to God--be silent before him.

2. When Elijah fled from Jezebel after he had killed the 850 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:40; 19:1-10), he came to Mount Horeb=Mount Sinai. The Bible says:
"Now there was a GREAT WIND, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, BUT THE LORD WAS NOT IN THE WIND; and after the wind an EARTHQUAKE, BUT THE LORD WAS NOT IN THE EARTHQUAKE; and after the earthquake a FIRE, BUT THE lORD WAS NOT IN THE FIRE, and after the fire A SHEER SILENCE." (1 Kings 19:11-12).
There is great power in SILENCE. God is often silent, and we fervently want him to say or do something. But in his deep, abiding silence, he changes our lives.

3. Carlyle wrote: "Silence is more eloquent than words." And a German proverb says: "Speech is silver; silence is golden." La Bruyere said: "It is a great misfortune neither to have enough wit to talk well nor enough judgment to be silent." Syrus reflected: "I regret often that I have spoken; never that I have been silent."

4. Proverbs 13:3 says:
"Those who guard their mouths preserve their lives;
those who open wide their lips come to ruin."

5. In my early years, I felt that God's people were compelled to DEBATE with people who differ with people who have different understandings, interpretations, beliefs. It did not take me very long to realize that all of us human beings are imperfect, short-sighted, limited in many ways. NOW, I honor and respect beliefs and views different from my own. Through time, I have often changed my view by listening to the views of other people and re-thinking through each issue. GROWTH demands CHANGE in understanding, attitude, way of life. Hence, I will NEVER DEBATE with anyone about any issue!!! I am VERY HAPPY to engage in serious study ABOUT ANYTHING as along as EVERYONE SPEAKING honors and respects everyone else in the discussion.

6. It is tragic that through past decades and centuries, so-called Christian leaders, churches, and religious groups have taken on themselves the RESPONSIBILITY to DEBATE those who differ with them and berate and criticize and blackball those who differ. This is UNGODLIKE, UNCHRISTIAN to the core. The godlike stance is to be courteous, loving, understanding, silent. These words from the word of God are very helpful.
Proverbs 26:20-22:
"For lack of wood the fire goes out,
and where there is not whisperer, quarreling ceases.
As charcoal is to hot embers and wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body."
Jesus sets the example for this behavior. Note Matthew 27:12-14:
"But when he [Jesus] was accused by the chief priests and elders, HE DID NOT ANSWER. Then Pilate said to him, 'Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?' BUT HE GAVE HIM NO ANSWER, NOT EVEN A SINGLE CHARGE, so that the governor was greatly amazed."
Let us follow Jesus's example. SILENCE is very often the best action.

Share YOUR thoughts and ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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