Several years ago, one of my superiors made a false accusation against me at church. I asked a couple of friends how I should refute what was said. One friend answered wisely, “Don’t defend yourself against the accusation. Doing so will only give the accusation merit.” My friend was right. Sadly, the leader who made the accusation left the Adventist Church shortly after. As I continued my ministry I realized everyone forgot what he said. It may sound cliche, but some things become cliche because they are true. Sometimes silence is golden.
Jesus promised us,
So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! Luke 21:14-15 NLT
In training people to give Bible studies, and how to use the Bible to answer certain questions, I occasionally find someone who is frustrated because someone debated them, and they did not know how to answer. They trusted the Holy Spirit to give them words to say, but they were speechless. Did Jesus let them down? No. Remember, not even Jesus answered every question. Sometimes, like us, He had nothing to say.
But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.Matthew 27:12-14 NLT
Could it be that Jesus knew their hearts were hardened, and that until the Holy Spirit had softened their hearts, it would do no good to say anything? When dealing with conflict, a pastor once told me, “You don’t have to swing at every pitch.” Baseball fans know what he meant. For everyone else, lets use more cliches and just say choose your battles well, and you don’t have to die on every hill. Sometimes it’s okay to be silent, and give the Holy Spirit opportunity to work. Sure there are times to speak up, but if the Holy Spirit has not given us words to speak, its best to remain silent, lest we ruin everything with our own foolishness.
Let me leave you with a thought that a wise teacher shared with some parents, which applies to more than just parents and children.
Children may not always be listening to you, but they are always watching you!
More important than finding the right word is doing the right action. Maybe the real reason Jesus needed no words, to answer their question is because His life already answered them.
You may study this week’s SS lesson here.