I ranted on it, so I thought I should be reasonable about it too: (not) shutting up.
I value shutting up. I also value speaking up. It sounds an odd pair to value, but then some people might venture to describe me as odd anyway. Regardless, I hold onto this as a wise saying:
“There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
…a time to be silent and a time to speak” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7
There are times when it is really important to not speak: The words which bubble up inside will do nothing but ill. The thoughts in your head are too whirling and disjointed to help. The things that come to mind are meaningless. There are times when, regardless of how good and true what you have to say is, the other person is not ready to hear it. The things you say will fall on deaf ears, and all that will happen is your pearls will get trampled in the mud. There are times too when there is nothing better than to listen. Your side, my side, it is valuable and important but right now, the absence of opinion speaks louder than the flurry. Sometimes it is better to say “I am listening”, when you want to say “I disagree”.
There are so many times where it is better to hold your peace.
There are times when it is really important to speak: The fear and worry that tells you to keep your peace is holding back words which will break down barriers and bring healing. The thoughts in your head are exactly what they need to hear. The things coming to mind are timely and Godly. There are times when, regardless of how difficult the circumstances, the other person needs to hear what you have to say – even if what you say falls on deaf ears. There are times too when to not speak up is as good as saying you’re on the side of the oppressor. There are times when you are unable to do anything, and nothing you say is listened to, but you have to say it because if you keep silent you’ll be as bad as them. There are even times when words have power and effect great and mighty change, and you never expected it.
There are so many times when it is wrong to hold your peace.
Last week’s Horizon was about the unconscious mind, and how our brains are doing a lot more under the surface than we think they are. One of the things they spoke about was that actually our brains filter out negative information and focus on the positive; it doesn’t seem to matter how much negative stuff is thrown at us, we ignore it and think optimistically in the face of it all!
Looking on the bright side is apparently not realistic. In fact, the state of the world seems to indicate that realism is a severe bleak depression. We don’t embrace that though (and I’m not suggesting we do); infact, we strive to hide the negative things and focus on the positive. Or think about it this way; looking at the world realistically is classed as a mental illness, and you can get treatment to help you stop looking at it realistically. What is the world offering to combat the negativity of it all, except to ignore it and focus on the positive? The world’s answer to the bleakness of reality is to ignore it, it’s not healthy to think about what’s actually going on.
I want to embrace the truth, and accept reality for what it is. But I missed something out about reality here, of course. The worlds bleakness ignores the hope that we have in God. We should be looking at things as they are, not ignoring what is actually going on for our own sense of well-being; but that’s not the end of the story. We can see things as they are without falling into despair, because “we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28).
The reality of this world is that things are dire and bleak, and the world says if you accept that you are desperately ill. But the reality of this world is also that things are brightening, a new day is coming, when Jesus will return and make all things new. The world says if you accept that you are mad. The world apparently doesn’t like reality, for all it’s claims; it’s ignoring what’s going on and cheering itself up with empty platitudes. I don’t want to filter out the truth – I want to walk in it.