I had a few moments in the past year when silence was the best answer to questions or comments that I found inappropriate. I also learned polite ways to delay answering questions as a strategy not to answer them at all. It takes skill, and courage too.
In our times, there is a generalized perception that we should address what people say at all times to express ourselves and be assertive about our values. There is little to no respect for our freedom to keep certain things to ourselves and share only with whom we choose to, in our own time.
And that is not only evil, but also a system to keep us at the mercy of other people’s unwelcome opinions and judgment.
Of course we don’t want to be omissive either. But living with the confidence that the Lord is the one in control helps us refrain from the obsessive-compulsive drive of this world to have a say in everything.
There is one particular situation when our silence is always more valuable than our words. It’s when what we have to say is not meant to build up and encourage.
It takes courage to choose not to speak and say what we shouldn’t say. If what we hear hurts us, let it be. Jesus teaches us that it is best to be hurt than to hurt. How wonderful is it that our faith encourages us to do what’s wise, and what gives us peace!
With God’s help, we can defeat the urge to answer questions or comments that we didn’t welcome in the first place. Only He can give us the courage to listen and act by not acting, allowing Him to do His work in ourselves as well as in others.