In Others’ Words: Hearing the Silence

Be silent 2017

Sometimes it isn’t so much what we say as it is what we don’t say.

I used to to think the more I said, the better chance I had of winning an argument … of influencing people and making friends … and yes, well, making my point.

Talk, talk, talk meant effect, effect, effect, right? 


The power of persuasion doesn’t always lie in our words. No. Sometimes our most profound statement of truth is found in our silence.

I’ve learned when to stand up for truth. I’ve also learned when to step back, knowing the truth — the hard, hard truth — and remain silent. Just like actions, sometimes silence is louder than words.

In Your Words: When have you chosen silence over words?






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  1. May 16, 2017, 5:13 am   /  Reply

    I loved this. I have had to learn to be silent with family I disagree with on various topics…like politics. At some point, it becomes pointless to keep arguing. Also with grown kids who are not walking the way I think they should. Sometimes my silence is deafening!!

    • May 16, 2017, 7:25 am   /  Reply

      Sherrinda: Yes! Sometimes choosing to be silent is the wisest choice, especially if speaking up will only lead to endless arguing. (I know there are Proverbs that speak to this.) Politics is a prime example. I know some people love to wrangle over stuff like this, but I’m not one for heated debate that dissolves into full-blown arguments.

  2. May 16, 2017, 7:06 am   /  Reply

    I’ve learned I don’t have to have the last word in an argument. 🙂

    • May 16, 2017, 7:25 am   /  Reply

      So true, Pat. And sometimes I don’t have to have the first word in an argument, either.

  3. May 16, 2017, 8:01 am   /  Reply

    I am far better defined by those things I do not say.

    • May 16, 2017, 11:55 am   /  Reply

      I like this perspective. A lot.

  4. May 16, 2017, 8:09 am   /  Reply

    I was once in an unpleasant situation in a Chris. school where there were 3 very debated options. Another person would be principal of the school, I would be principal, or we could hold that role jointly and work together, which though difficult I seriously knew would be the right situation. When time came for me to give the reasons why I should be in charge and the other person not, I stuck to the shared principal and clearly heard that beyond that I shoukld follow the example of Jesus, like a lamb before his shearers is dumb, and keep my mouth shut. The outcome is less important than the spiritual results that resulted. Some of those administering the complicated situation said that far more than a school, we were seeing principles of how God’s kingdom would come in, and I gained much confidence and wisdom.

    • May 16, 2017, 11:56 am   /  Reply

      Much food for thought there, Dee. And I also appreciate the truth that in being silent we are better able to hear — and thus, follow — God’s voice.

  5. May 16, 2017, 9:49 am   /  Reply

    Third time’s a charm. I’m in the middle of something and I thought the solution was “be silent.” This is the third time hearing it. Oh, how I love God’s signs and wonders. Thanks, Beth.

    • May 16, 2017, 11:57 am   /  Reply

      Kim: I am so thankful when God makes things clear with the “third time’s the charm” principle. It makes it easier to act … or not act. Speak … or not speak.

  6. May 16, 2017, 11:22 am   /  Reply

    Great post, Beth. There are times (recently in fact) when I have chosen silence over words because the boy (yes, one of mine) only wanted to argue with me. There are times when silence is the only thing that can shut down an argument.

    Sometimes, there is simply nothing left to be said and silence is the better teacher.

    • May 16, 2017, 11:58 am   /  Reply

      And you know what?
      That argumentative boy is learning by your choice to be silent.
      It may not seem like it at the time. But they are watching … and listening.

  7. May 16, 2017, 12:52 pm   /  Reply

    I had a very prickly relationship with several of my sisters in law. For years, I kept my mouth shut. Then one day, my MIL, their mom, found out how they’d been treating me. Being deaf, she didn’t always know the whispered details.
    Suffice it to say, when she did find out? Ohhhhh, things changed, and immediately.
    I know that because I didn’t complain to her and honoured their ties, she was that much more upset with them, because I refused to be a wedge when I had every right to ask for her help, even though things got worse because the SILs got away with it.
    The longer the boom took, the harder it dropped.
    Things are MUCH improved.

    • May 16, 2017, 5:27 pm   /  Reply

      That is an interested double-layer of silence on silence, Jennifer. And it’s also another example of choosing to remain silent … and that being the best choice. I’m thankful to hear that things are MUCH improved.

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