Oh but for a slip of the tongue, kingdoms would not have been lost. Or relationships damaged beyond repair! Or the heart of a fool revealed in one utterance to be regretted an entire life through. . .
Sounds a bit poetic, does it not? And yet there’s so much truth, fact and wisdom in the words that we can hardly ignore the message contained beneath the rhetoric.
“Silence is golden, Linda!” I can still hear my Mother say those words to me over and over again. “Think before you speak, Susie!” My maternal grandfather’s wise counsel when I was about to utter something that would guarantee the label “fool”!
In Ecclesiastes, the author reveals there are seasons in life, including times to speak and times to be silent. Of course, the challenge is to learn what time it is. The maturity that comes with learning such a ‘timely‘ lesson is come by via the hard knocks we call “experience” I open my mouth at the wrong time with the wrong person and I’m apt to find more than just a stern look of disapproval.
As a ‘vintage’ woman, I’ve come to recognize that my need to speak when I should remain silent is mostly driven by personal ego. The other person’s opinion does not jive with mine, therefore I must set her (or him) straight about the truth. Uh, let me rephrase that . . . “my truth”. My truth, while closely held, is not the same as the other. And to dispute, argue, blame or refute is folly. The harder I try to convince you of my righteous and rightful position – the harder you will dig in your heels and maintain your position.
That my dear friends, is how it goes.
The truth is “silence is golden” until the time comes when to deny the truth becomes bittersweet to the tongue. There is a time to speak, whether out of personal ego or just plain deep concern for the truth. A truth that may not be universally accepted; but is nevertheless, the truth!
For too long, women in general and specifically Christian women, have remained silent. My personal observation is we have bought the lie that what Jesus would do is keep His mouth shut. Which by the way, is most often not what He would do! So we remain silent and walk by the voice of dissent much as the priest and Levite did in the parable of the Good Samaritan. We error on the side of caution, convincing ourselves that a “good” Christian would not make waves or speak out of turn.
Yet too many times the “turn” is ours. Our turn to speak. To speak for the genuine concern and care of others. To speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. To speak for the God of our salvation that others might experience the joy of being reunited with the One Who loves them more dearly than they could ever imagine. Our turn to speak that a wrong may be made right and a right be restored to those deserving of same.
I could go on and on. But the bottom line always comes back to “wisdom”. Wisdom to know when – and when not. Wisdom to know when it’s just human ego bolstered with hubris and offended by words. . . versus the humility of one who has gained the right to speak through life experiences seared into her soul.
What do you think?
Is silence always “golden”?
Is the woman who remains silent always the one not to be taken for a fool?
Do you feel you have reached a level of maturity in which you can remain silent in the face of offense and affront not rightly deserved?
Perhaps the most important question is this. . .
“Do you actively seek wisdom in every season of your life. . . especially that which involves the use of one’s lips and tongue?”
Linda S. Fitzgerald, CEO & Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Eriching Women in Business Worldwide
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