One of the things that we find out about human beings is that we hate silence. We can see this coming out in social media. How often we have found that we had put our foot in our mouth and find ourselves in more trouble by speaking than in being silent.
As humans we naturally resist silence. We see this whenever a conversation falters, somehow, we feel the need to speak up. Trained negotiators will often use silence to create an awkward moment with the purpose of making a person speak who is being interrogated.
We know that without speech we cannot build and maintain relationships which are so important in bringing us into the fulfillment that God has for us. It is said that under communism or other tyrannies of governments, or with slaves that the casual conversation is hardly heard. Even with the Israelites under slavery in Egypt they had a breakdown in communication until redemption set them free.
It is interesting to see how in God’s language (Hebrew) many words revolve around speech. For example, the word for the feast of Passover can be read in two words: talking mouth.
This is why the Jews, when they celebrate the holy day meal of Sedar – have a script called the Haggadah, which translates: “the telling,” where they talk about the Exodus out of Egypt.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin brings out that the Israelites first campsite coming out of Egypt was called, “the mouth of freedom.” (Exodus 14:3)
“Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi–hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal–zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.” Exodus 14:2
It is also interesting when the Hebrews wandered in the desert for 40 years that the word for desert is “talking” or “speech.” It was seen that the desert was a good place to bring people into conversation.
When we are surrounded by silence we hear more. There is an interesting book called, “The Awesome Power Of the Listening Ear” which brings out how important it is to listen. In any conversation these two will always go together, the ability to converse and the ability to listen. This is why it is important with small children to have participation in talking as well as listening.
Asking questions is a very good way to get a conversation going. When my oldest grandson was small we would get in the car and go to McDonalds and get a milk-shake and french-fries. We would sit in the back and then I would say to him: “Let’s talk.”
However, it is important to keep in mind (according to James chapter 3) that the out of control tongue is like a raging fire. Much destruction can come from an uncontrolled speech or loose tongue. Biblical wisdom teaches: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it – will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21) “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7
Dr. Caroline Leaf, in her excellent book called, “Switching on the Brain” says that “good thinking = good choices = healthy thoughts; toxic thinking = toxic choices = toxic thoughts.”
One of the most powerful things that God has given to us is the ability to choose. “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30: 19).
We are made in the likeness and image of God and when we come to Christ as our Savior, we can have the ‘mind of Christ.’ We need to bring every thought into obedience to Christ. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5