Twice As Important, Silence over Speaking

It’s hard to be silent when spoken to…

HearingIt is our nature to open mouth, and insert our explanations or comments without waiting for the whole story, must less a complete sentence. Interjection is an interruption. It has the power to take over the conversation and wander many a rabbit trail.

This is the problem of many people. Perhaps even myself.

Our collective problem is that we seldom listen well enough to understand the other side of the coin, and rather focus on what we have to say instead. Our rebuttal is based on our perception of the flow and not necessarily the direction intended.

Perhaps it would be simply wiser to learn to listen better, and know when to respond and practice on responding well.

I am sure that a lawyer and politician must have this skill in their toolbox. It’s probably used every day, and often with every speaker.

“Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” ~Abraham Lincoln

Just as Muhammad Ali stated, “Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.”, sometimes it’s best to say nothing. You can learn a lot when you keep your words to yourself. “Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.” (Francis Bacon)

“Choose silence of all virtues, for by it you hear other men’s imperfections, and conceal your own.” ~George Bernard Shaw 

What we say often represents how we think. How we interrupt often shows how thoughtless we are, and that our attention span is very, very short. What you say can be regretted, what you think can only be censored by yourself. If you have ever started off a conversation with, “I probably shouldn’t say this, but…” then you probably have just found a time and place to keep your thoughts to yourself!

There is a season for speech, just as their is a season for silence. Learning to understand the season is a lesson well learned.

Jesus often spoke truth to an audience and there was no rebuttal. Silence was a common response. He understood the ability to be silent when in a time of trouble and it was prophesied that he would be silent during his troubles.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7 NKJV) (Acts 8:32)

Opened not his mouth…simply means there’s nothing you have to say about it. Even when being fleeced, keep silent.

This is the other side of our problem of silence. We wail and moan at our “lot in life” and struggle with keeping the path of our journey silent from others around us. The conversation is all about “me” and what “I” am experiencing. You are your own center of focus and you want to bring all others focus on you. Somewhat selfish, I would think.

How many times have you been around someone who constantly drones on about their problems? I’ve learned that being silent is a good answer. Do not ask for more information. Do not commiserate. Learn how to divert the conversation by saying nothing.

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” ~Leonardo da Vinci

 

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