The Practice of Silence

I knew a guy who talked incessantly. Nice guy. He taught me many thing when I was younger.

At some point early in his adult life, he joined an order and entered a monastery. It was one of those orders where the key discipline is silence. “Can you imagine me, silent?” he would often ask with a smile.

James offers advice in his letter about the virtue and discipline of silence from the view of how much trouble you tongue can cause. When someone approaches and says “Let me speak the truth”, how often do you have that feeling of dismay?

Yes, often it is far better to maintain silence rather than say something.

There is another type of silence.

In Job we read, “Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone wrong.”

Again in Job, we read, “If you would only keep silent, that would be your wisdom.”

There is a silence that pairs nicely with waiting. If we could but be silent and wait for the Lord to speak to us, then we could hear and grow in wisdom.

That is a silence that comes in prayer when we finish talking and then sit and listen quietly for the whisper of God. That part, for me, is the best part. If only I did it three times daily like Daniel!

I love when the writer draws a picture. Imagine this (from Psalm 131), “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother.”

What a delightful picture of rest and contentment.

In silence we grow in wisdom and quiet our busy minds.

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