People ask me all the time why I stopped practicing law. The simple answer is that it made me sick. No, it really physically made me ill every time I walked in the courthouse and knew that I would either be standing before a judge or another attorney who would fire off questions at either my client or me. It made me queasy to even think about the level of confrontation that I would face in court and that how I handled the confrontation could change a person’s life forever.
This is not to say that I never argue. My siblings and my exes will definitely tell you that I am fully capable of carrying on an argument. My problem is that long after the argument is over, I replay it in my mind. I go over everything I said, everything my opponent said, what I should have said, and what I will say the next time. So, I generally choose to argue over things that are more trivial, like sports or fashion, so that I do not drive myself absolutely batty. I have learned in my life, though, that there is a time to defend and a time for silence. I learned that from Jesus.
In two so-called trials, Jesus uttered but a few words. To Pilate, He answered the question, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ with the reply, ‘You said that.’ In front of Herod, the Pharisees screamed accusations and Jesus did not say a word. Jesus knew that His purpose was to die for a sin-sick world. He knew that He was facing certain death. Bickering back and forth with the kings and His accusers was not going to change God’s plan.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in how many opportunities we miss to say something that we do not even consider how many opportunities we miss to be silent so that God can move forward with His plans. I am not speaking of denying your faith, but simply allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you about what to say and when to say it. I know I have missed plenty of opportunities to shut up and I have caused more damage to the Kingdom of God by “defending myself and my beliefs” than I would have if I had just been quiet and walked in love. It is nearly impossible to have an argument with only one participant.
It is not a matter of being weak or getting walked on, but a matter of trusting that God will tell you when it is your time to speak on the issue. If we remember, like Jesus, that all of our battles belong to the Lord, then perhaps, we will learn that there are times when silence is golden. Ms. EV