Silence is Golden—Or Not. Part Two

The Silent Game. Invented around the time of Adam and Eve’s first experience in parenting, this game has been making camel, wagon, and car rides bearable for over six thousand years. The object of the game is to see who has the fine-tuned ability to be quiet for the longest. Any noise made by any part of the body renders that player out, and in effect he/she loses the game.

The Silent Game. Great for car rides, bad for culture. Confused? Keep reading…

Yesterday I tacked a Bonhoeffer quote at the end of the post. Here’s the full quote:

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

He was speaking specifically about the Holocaust. The German church had turned a blind eye to Hitler and Bonhoeffer called them out. But his words are hauntingly applicable for today, aren’t they?

[I just saw a video of Dr. Erwin Lutzer and Eric Metaxas talking about this very thing. Watch it here.]

Easier Said than Said

So here’s the thing. It’s really easy to give mental assent to the fact that we cannot be silent. But when it comes to actually saying something in a conversation, we’re suddenly stricken with muteness. Cotton mouth. Sweaty palms. Labored breathing and a fast heartbeat. The moment passes, and we’ve said nothing. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

Certainly you must be wise and use tact and kindness when speaking. And there are times that are not good to speak (the whole “don’t answer a fool according to his folly” thing). Discernment is required. But silence is not an option.

Here’s Where it Gets Hard

Culture doesn’t like to listen. It only likes to talk. The people with the biggest mouths also have incredibly small ears, proverbially.  They preach tolerance, but are not willing to practice it. If a dissenting opinion is given, that person is labeled judgmental, racist, homophobe, hater, or any number of choice names. Like I said, it isn’t easy.

But here’s where you get to push back. Hold some feet to the fire. If they have a right to an opinion, so do you. Remind them of that. Don’t be a jerk, but introduce some logic into the situation.

I know it’s hard. Last semester I sat in class every week thinking, “should I say something, or should I not?” I didn’t agree with a lot of what was said. It was driven by extreme political-correctness, and post-modern thinking patterns (there are no absolutes, nobody is wrong). And I was thinking, “Wait a minute, I’m a student in this class, so I get just as much right to say what I think as the student next to me.”

I’ll be the first to tell you that I was not always eloquent, nor did I take every opportunity to inject my thoughts (although maybe my classmates would say differently). It wasn’t easy. But it was a start.

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. 

You have a voice. Use it.

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