It seems like people will believe just about anything these days (and that includes Christians). The question that hounds me is this: Should I be silent or should I speak up? God’s Word says,
That assures me of one thing. I don’t always have to speak up! That’s good because sometimes it’s just easier to keep my beliefs to myself unless I’m asked for my opinion. But on the other hand, the Bible also says this:
“Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17 NIV
One of my favorite genres is historical fiction during WWII. At one time I found it hard to understand how people in Germany could remain silent amid the horrible persecution of the Jews. But I’m beginning to understand how societal pressure can keep one silent. It isn’t easy to speak up against lies, in the church or in secular society. In the case of Nazi Germany, silence aided evil. Silence can aid evil in today’s world as well.
The following secular quotes are also interesting to contemplate:
Your very silence shows you agree.”Euripides
Sometimes, to remain silent is to lie, since silence can be interpreted as assent.”Miguel de Unamuno
But Scripture also supports silence:
“Therefore, he who is prudent and has insight will keep silent at such a [corrupt and evil] time, for it is an evil time [when people will not listen to truth and will disregard those of good character]. Amos 5:13 AMP
“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” Proverbs 17:27-28
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” James 1:19
Jesus exemplified the wisdom of silence when He stood before Pontius Pilate:
12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. Matthew 27:12-14 NIV
When the Jews faced national annihilation, the brave Queen Esther recognized her God-appointed purpose and time to speak. Her cousin Mordecai urged,
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:12-14
Esther obeyed, risking her life to save her people. She knew it was “a time to speak,” and she received God’s abundant blessing.
I have searched the Scriptures concerning speaking up or staying silent and my conclusion remains:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: … a time to be silent and a time to speak” Ecclesiastes 3: 1 and 7b NIV
Should I speak up or should I remain silent? There are no easy answers to our question. We may not know what we should do. But God has promised to give us wisdom when we ask Him. So that is what we must do. We rely on God’s wisdom and the Holy Spirit to lead us as we seek guidance from God’s Word.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6 NIV Read full chapter
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments, especially if you have struggled with this issue in your life or ministry.
With Love, Cindy
Do you want to know more about Jesus? Read my page Who Is Jesus?