The Danger of Silence
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Galatians 6:1
One day a loved one who doesn’t know the Lord with some trepidation shared with me a concern she had about something I had been doing for a very long time. She was nervous about sharing her heart with me about it, not knowing by this point in my life I had finally come to see the Lord’s conviction, chastening, and leading me to repentance as He conforms me to Christ as a welcome yet challenging reminder of His amazing love for me – and that chastening sometimes comes via others and not only directly by His Spirit through His Word as it often does in my life.
I was not the least bit surprised by what she told me, nor was I at all defensive as I undoubtedly would have been in the past when someone pointed something out to me that clearly came from the Lord. The fact she spoke to me in love certainly helped, but more than anything I became excited about being given the opportunity to repent and about the prospects of what could now transpire in my heart and life as a result of by God’s Spirit through my loved one’s words seeing what needed to be gotten rid of from my life. Though I had seen the issue before, and many times at that, I had never until that conversation seen with such utter clarity the toll it had been taking not only on my relationship with God, which is more important than anything, but the devastating toll it had taken on others including those who do not follow Jesus Christ. What then, considering the joy and thanksgiving in all of this, does this have to do with the danger of silence? Herein lies the answer.
Why did it take someone not following Christ to help me see something so important when Christ followers are called to love one another and help one another grow in Christ even when telling others things we need to see can be difficult and come with the risk of rejection? To grow in Christ, we need to see the truth about where we fall short and repent and allow God by His Spirit to grow and mature us. The most vital way for this to transpire is to be diligently studying God’s Word and to be filled with and led by His Holy Spirit. But this is not all. God uses others as well to deliver messages to us. Though well-meaning because they love me and didn’t want to hurt me, various Christ followers in my life had been silent about the issue I needed to see and repent of. Their silence had enabled me to remain in the hog pen of sin in a certain area of my life rather than to come out from the muck and yuck of the danger of it. As hard as it can be, we who follow Christ need when and as God’s Spirit leads us to speak the truth in love not to hurt others, but to help them be free in Christ.