I’m someone who’s especially fond of silence. My family makes fun of me because I require four white walls and the absence of noise to do almost anything productive. If you’ve known me for a while, you’ll also know that I wrote most of my Miss Perfect Bible study in the car… with no music playing, I might add.
Lately, however, I’ve become familiar with a darker side of silence. If left to its own devices, this silence is deadly. It kills relationships. It starts off innocent enough. You get busy and forget to reply to a text. You see the call come up on your phone, but you’re surrounded by loud kids and decide not to pick up… and then forget to check your voicemail. Is this just a replay from my life or does anyone else out there drop the ball like I do?
If you’re the one forgetting to text or declining a call, you know you have no issue with that person. You simply know you’re just too busy… stressed… sad… whatever the case may be. But the other person’s world is where the silence creeps in. And in the empty space of connection, silence itself begins to whisper negativity. Negativity then morphs into either insecurity (“she doesn’t like me”) or anger (“she doesn’t value me”) and all of a sudden, a relationship is strained without a word being spoken.
Sometimes the silence isn’t from missed opportunities and careless phone etiquette. Sometimes it’s created as a result of discord in the relationship. Most of us, myself included, don’t like conflict. So, if we have a conversation that bothers us, we’re more apt to pull back than to reach out. Can I encourage you strongly: Resist the urge to pull back. If you care about that person, care enough to reach out. The longer the silence, the longer the enemy has to try to create division in the relationship.
Interestingly, this issue of silence and separation is so important that it’s not only the offender who’s called to action. Matthew 5:23-24 tells us what we’re to do when we feel someone else’s silence…
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Regardless of why there’s tension or who owns it, God calls us to a lifestyle of unity, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Who do you need to move towards? There’s never a wrong time to do the right thing.