Silence is good. Do not break it if you cannot improve it. As good as that statement may be there is a time when our silence compound issues rather than preventing conflict. Sometimes we keep silent because we don’t want to rock the boat of our relationship with people. At such a time, we may commit what I called 3 sins of silence. Usually, everybody wants others to see them as preserving the unity of the fellowship and community. But, it will do more damage when no one is ready to speak up when an error is committed. Whenever we fail to confront evil and error, we would end up committing one of the three sins of silence. The best way to deal with cancer is to remove it.
In fact, I am writing this post because of my recent experience with one of my female group leader. Well, I am from a male-dominated society in the community, nation, and church. She had an issue with some members of her team who is not committed to the vision of the ministry. As the district coordinator, I promised to see her pastor so we could affect changes. This becomes necessary because I had spoken earlier with these people about their inconsistency and lack of commitment. She called me later not to speak to her pastor on the issue. Why? She doesn’t want the people to know she had reported them. Now, my assumption is she is afraid of opposition, rejection, and rebuke.
When I looked at the scenario, I concluded she had committed three sins of silence. Apparently, this silence has indulged several people to continue in error and sin unabated. Any of these sins can kill your dream or vision.
We need to look at the biblical definition of sin. Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness1 John 3:4. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is a sin for them James 4:17Now we can look at these three sins of silence one after the other.
1- Sin against God: You’ll end up sinning against God when you keep silent where you are supposed to talk. Why? God has a purpose for placing you wherever you find yourself. The disciples of Jesus recognize this when they spoke unequivocally their purpose for living Acts 4:20. You’ve committed the sin of silence against God who appointed you when you fail to speak up when and where necessary Isaiah 58, Ezekiel 3: 18-19. You are indirectly giving your consent when you are silent on wrongdoings, sin, and injustice. For instance, Paul the Apostle was not one of those who stoned Stephen to death. But he didn’t, say no, in fact, he held the clothes of those who did the act.
When you hear or see something bad in your office, school, fellowship, family and community you are to speak up. You seem not to see the gravity of such evil as God would. At the same time, you give preference to others, your personality than Gods.
By the way, we sometimes forget the reasons why God placed us at the helm of the affair or in a system. He knew things will sometimes go wrong. And they do go wrong. Failure to speak up means we do not know our authority and we are not competent in God’s estimation. So, when next you are tempted to shy away from speaking up, be reminded you are about to commit one of the sins of silence. Jesus never minces word when He rebuked people messing around in the temple John 2:14
2- Sin against yourself: It is so amazing how we do shoot ourselves on the feet while maintaining status quo Psalm 32:3. The sin of silence is not only committed against God but, yourself. What a great heartache, bitterness, anger, frustration, regret people pass through because they wanted to satisfy people or team member. Most times these erring member, teammate, friend or family never knew the great disservice you are doing to yourself. Love your neighbor as yourself does not include glossing over sin. Our master Jesus or the disciples never goes pleasing people by keeping silent when he ought to speak.
Do you know that every human being will not naturally want to keep the rules? Why? It violates the ego of man. So, someone has to whip people back to the line. This is where you come in. If you now keep silent you’ll be committing the sin of silence against yourself.
While you think you’re preserving the relationship things are getting worse. Unfortunately, evil is more contagious than good. Right in your presence, the whole system gets corrupted. You ended up disappointing both God and the leaders that appointed you. Worse still, the people you’re protecting will still condemn you for incompetence and moves to another sphere. You’re the loser for it. In the end, you lose on all fronts: God, men and yourself. Paul’s sharp rebuke of Peter saved the day. Both for this revered Apostle and the church.
3- Sin against others: When I was growing up we heard a story of a man who chopped off his mother’s hear at the point of execution. The man claimed her mother never corrected her when he was bringing other children’s properties home as a kid. The woman could have avoided the sin of silence if she had spoken up earlier. Occasionally people misbehave not willingly but that was the best they could put up. At such time they needed someone to point them to the right path. Your quietness instead of helping them compound the situation. We are our brother’s keeper whether as a leader, follower or team member.
As a result of your unholy silence, some committed and trustworthy follower will feel betrayed and disappointed in your leadership. You’ll end up sending the wrong signal to these people that it doesn’t pay to do the right thing.
Incidentally, the best leaders do not see everything at the same time. Therefore, you are to act as the eyes and ear of your leader as you serve. Whichever way, your continued silence will not help. It will be a sin against those who do not know better if you are silent when you could speak. You can be sure that those sincerely wrong will levy sin of silence against you if they discovered you never corrected them or point their attention to their error. Paul’s sharp rebuke of Peter’s behavior saved the day. Both for this revered Apostle and the church Galatians 2:11.
In all, silence is beautiful if we apply it correctly. However, we’ll end up committing the sins of silence if we keep quiet when we are supposed to talk. If God had kept quiet, the people would have built the tower of Babel to compete with him.
Have you suffered any pain as a result of your undue silence? What area do you think you need to start speaking up now? Add your voice in the comment box.
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Author: Joseph Akinrinola
Joseph Akinrinola is a Pastor, Sunday school management coach, author, blogger, and a motivational speaker.
Joseph created this blog to help young Christians establish their
feet in Christ, and to provide Biblical time-tested answers to life’s
questions about relationship, christian living and personal development.