Jesus taught us, saying: ‘Make a tree sound and its fruit will be sound; make a tree rotten and its fruit will be rotten. For the tree can be told by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can your speech be good when you are evil? For words flow out of what fills the heart. Good people draw good things from their store of goodness; and bad people draw bad things from their store of badness. So I tell you this, that for every unfounded word people utter they will answer on Judgment Day, since it is by your words you will be justified, and by your words condemned.’ Matthew 12:33–37
During prayer this morning, these words struck home for me. In recent months, I have been busy investigating monastic wisdom, principles and values because I’ve sensed a deep call from God that there is a place for their employment in our everyday lives as non-cloistered people.
The concept of being silent as a human being is anathema to many and just plain weird to most. However, most monastics live a largely silent life for two reasons. The first is that, through quietness, they might hear the soft, still voice of God speaking to them from within their hearts, and the second is to be found in the Scripture quoted above .. in particular, the last sentence. If it is by our words we are justified and by our words we are condemned, it then makes perfect sense to live life using an economy of words and to not entrap ourselves in idle chatter, for which we will have to give an account to God.
Now, as a professional broadcaster, this may seem to force me to live a contradictory life .. and that may be so. But in recent years, I have discovered the value of silence. As a prophetic ministry, my vocation has been filled with words, but still, a lesson Paul Cain taught me some years ago rings even more true as I allow the power and value of quietness to pervade my heart and life. He said, "The more mature a prophet becomes, the more silent he becomes." What a treasure that statement is!
But I think the same ought to be said for all human beings. The more mature we become as people, the less willing we ought to be to have an opinion about everything. The more mature we become as people, the more self-disciplined we ought to be, able to mind our own business and hold our own tongues. The more mature we become as people, the more we can follow the admonition of the Apostle Paul, who said …
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need." 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Silence truly is golden!