February 18

Written by Bill Grandi on February 18th, 2019

My title today is Wise Silence vs Wise Words.

As a young pastor, I faced a dilemma quite often. I’m ashamed to admit that I failed more than I can count. That dilemma was when to speak up and when to be silent. This was not when certain non-negotiables (Jesus’ divinity, God’s character, etc) were being discussed. I could only wish.

No. The dilemma was knowing when to speak and when to be silent with people of pain. My dilemma came because I thought I had to have an answer. Trouble with children? I have the answer…even though I have only one then 2. That’s sounds fine except theirs were teenagers. Having trouble with alcohol?  With guilt from a death? How could I relate when I’ve never had that pain?

So I faked it. I spouted off religious platitudes. I had answers…but they were hollow. Age, “maturity,” and experience has definitely changed that. I’ve raised two girls now. I’ve lost a mother to cancer. I’ve been estranged from a father who chose to be and died with only his wife around. Want to know about marital struggles? Want to know about distance from God? Want to know about church leadership betrayal? Gotcha covered.

I don’t have to fake those. The pain is real. Something comes alongside me now…credibility. I still find times it is better to be silent. But least now when I choose to speak, I can speak from a pain-touched heart.

“Father, please help me to know when to speak and when to be quiet. Even now with so much more experience, it is easy to speak out of turn. Help me to be careful when I do speak; help me to know when not to speak.”


9 Comments so far ↓

  1. Pam says:

    Oh, Bill, when to speak and when to be silent is a battle we all face on a regular basis. Like you, with age, I have gained a bit more wisdom in this area, but still struggle with the dilemma.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I don’t care how old I get Pam it will always be a battle I’m afraid. Thanks for coming by.

  2. Glynn says:

    These days of social media seem to compel us to speak out, even when we know little or nothing. Part of what has happened is that we’ve lost an understanding of what’s important and what’s trivial, and so we tend to confuse them. More often than not, silence is the best course.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      So true Glynn. Fortunately, except for my blogs, I have avoided social media. Appreciate the truth of your comment.

  3. You’ve reminded me here, Bill, of the know-it-all attitude I had when younger, thinking I had the answer to any problem someone was facing. Thank you, God, for teaching me how to be humble and to simply close my mouth.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Don’t you wish we had the same attitude back then as we do now? Then again, where would the growth be? I echo your prayer for more wisdom.

  4. Ryan S. says:

    I agree with Pam and Glynn, it is a battle. As a pastor, I am sure the challenge is even more so… as often you ARE expected to have some answers. I am even finding that with my kids (now young adults) more often than not, it is best that I stay silent on certain things. Allow them to experience the challenges of life and allow them to determine how to navigate those waters.

    As Glynn said, social media provides a unguarded outlet for self-proclaimed experts to spout nonsensical advice about everything from children rearing, to global politics, to time-travel.

    Your post has actually got me thinking about my own blog… Am I simply contributing another layer to this entangled web of information.

    Great things to think about, Bill… before I spout off another sentence.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I think you ought to continue your blog Ryan. It is making people think (okay me) and it is challenging you to journal and be faithful in reading and staying in touch with God.

  5. floyd samons says:

    Great point, Bill. Wisdom is earned the hard way and is more valuable than the riches this world chases after…