Thoughts on Silence and Change

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Silence is an important and valuable tool for change and empathy, self-reflection, and learning.

There is a lot of pressure to post and endorse specific solutions or organizations at this difficult time in our nation. I believe those pushing such things are well motivated. I think that, from a Christian perspective, as one who serves the God of all nations, racism in any context, as well as injustice, are evils prophetically denounced by God and his Word. Christians can always speak God’s words to a weary world and should. We cannot be totally silent in the face of God’s calling to and upon us.

But this is not the same thing as posting and sharing on social media. Silence is an important and valuable tool for change and empathy, self-reflection, and learning.

Silence may be consent. It may be apathy and it may be a manifestation of injustice. But not always.

Silence may also be fear awaiting courage. Silence may be the meditation that precedes repentance. Silence may be confusion or grief in need of clarity and hope. Silence may be research, a time to listen, and gather up. Silence may be anger that is best left to burn out privately than lash out publicly. Silence may be prayer, seeking the Lord before acting. Silence may be the rejection of peer pressure, or the embrace of nuance over stark binaries. Silence may be better for some people’s mental health. Silence may be forming of a new resolve, or the taking of a moral inventory. Silence may be a time to listen carefully without getting defensive. Silence may be rest, the building up of strength for the work ahead. Silence may be the rejection of political power that often is self-serving instead of looking for systemic change elsewhere. Silence may be strategic, a putting into order a plan for change.

You can be silent and: donate, vote, pray, volunteer, and be the change you want to see in the world. Silence is not always consent. Sometimes silence is the breath that one takes before plunging into new beginnings. Silence can be the cessation of one’s own voice to make room for another to be heard.

Please consider not shaming the silent; they may be your allies. Biblical wisdom calls the wise person one who is not quick to speak many words. Perhaps, silence is the space where wisdom grows so that we can help and love our neighbors. Perhaps silence is the beginning of change...