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My uncle Ross was an amazing man in so many ways. He was born and raised as one of 7 kids in a rural area of Northwest Arkansas, but spent most of his life in the Los Angeles area. He was a fearless motorcyclist and would zip in and out of heavy traffic while terrifying my mother, who was brave and adventurous in her own right. He could not hear her screams nor the horns of the other vehicles because he was deaf his whole life. He may have lived a life of total silence, but he certainly made the most of every opportunity. He was President of one of the National Deaf societies, traveled extensively, learned to sign, could read and write well and achieved many other honors. I never got to meet him face to face, but he was truly a heroic figure in our family.

There are several scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments that speak of silence and its value for Christians today. One of these from Proverbs says, “…a fool is thought to be wise if he keeps silent (17:28). Some of the Psalms, however, urge us not to be silent when the Lord has blessed us (30: 12), and not silently cover up our sin (32:3-5) and to speak something good rather than remaining silent. There are times to be silent, as when in God’s holy temple (Hab 2:20), and times to shout with joy (Ps 47:1-2) (Ps 66:1-2) (Isa 12:6). Solomon’s wisdom is that there is, “…a time to be silent and a time to speak… (Ecc 3:7). The Christian needs to use prayer, experience, and discretion to learn which is which.

Paul gives us a good reason for times of silence, because the whole world will be held accountable to God (Rom 3:19). In fact, there will be a time when there will even be silence in heaven (Rev 8:1). Evidently, this is a dramatic pause before the next series of plagues. That old secular advice of counting to ten before venting is good counsel for all of us. Also apropos is the lesson that Silence is Golden!

-Jim Bailey

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