“Fools give reasons, wise men never try!” These words come from the popular song, “Some Enchanted Evening.”
For many years I thought I had to give an answer for everything until one evening, in the 1980’s, I heard this powerful song being sung at a cantata in Plain Dealing, Louisiana held in Ms.Ford’s back yard with Hugh Scott Coyle singing the lead.
Hearing those lyrics gave me an answer to a struggle I faced daily most of my life.
One of the hardest lessons to learn is to just shut up, to not answer back, to just stop talking, because we think that the more words spoken the stronger we make our case.
Quite the reverse is often true.
.Jesus was a great example when He was criticized by the crowds. He answered not a word.
I know of no stronger argument than that of silence. Silence seems to be what we are most afraid of, not knowing how to answer next.
Why are we so scared to hear ourselves think? Why must we have constant noise and be plugged in to either cell phones, texting or social media?
I think we are scared of our own company. It takes years of becoming comfortable with ourselves.
I once heard that people often watch television all evening long to numb themselves from thinking.
Why do we need to be numbed?
I confess I like my thoughts, of hearing myself think, but I had to go through years of pain, of hitting rock bottom, to get to that place in my life, having grown up in an orphanage.
It takes years of working at the art of keeping silence. It may be even harder to just ask for wisdom. In the Bible, in James 1:5, we are taught that all we have to do is ask for wisdom.
This gift comes with no strings attached. All we have to do is ask.
Sometimes we get under so much pressure we hardly know which end is up but if we will turn again to the Word we can find this often overlooked truth. Just ask for wisdom.
Enough said and maybe not.
I suppose there is a stubborn streak in all of us. We want to speak, to have the last word.
I’ve heard of the “silent sale.” The way it appears to work is this — just become silent after you have made your spiel, stop talking, and the sale will more likely be won. Silence speaks volumes.
Why are we so slow to learn this lesson?
Maybe we become mesmerized with our own words. Ministers are sometimes guilty of this trait, of thinking that the longer the sermon the better the message when in reality some of the greatest messages have consisted of few words.
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself” is the shortest speech ever recorded and was spoken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his inaugural address. Those eight words were the entire speech which was followed by a standing ovation.
A most poignant verse is “Jesus wept” which is the simplest verse to learn. Yet it speaks loudly of Jesus’ emotion, of His deep love that carried Him to the cross.
These thoughts comes deep within my soul when I find myself in situations when I need great wisdom to known when to speak and when to keep silent. It is those times that I ask for wisdom and it comes in the most needed times.
It gives me peace as I pillow my head knowing that Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever and that He always gets me to the right place at the right time.
Sarah Hudson Pierce is an author who lives near Mooringsport, Louisiana