I’m not a quiet person by nature and that’s a bit of an understatement. Anyone who has personally known me for any length of time knows that I enjoy meeting new people, having interesting conversations, and making my thoughts and opinions known…sometimes too much. Some days I think that I should have gone into sales because I can make friends with an angry Cheetah, albeit that’s something I hope to never try. But alas, I find myself in middle management stuck dormant behind a desk for most of my day not getting the opportunity to share with the world the joy that is my perfectly formed set of opinions. On a related note, I also have a sarcastic sense of humor.
Having worked in healthcare since 2009, I have acquired my own set of thoughts on what kinds of reform will actually help lower the total amount of spending on healthcare, as well as where the source of our problems are (but this post isn’t about that). I’ve also got thoughts to share on things like the traffic around Charleston, which I believe all stems from the Don Holt bridge. I’ve also got some thoughts on parenting and, having never parented before, should most definitely be adhered to. The bottom line of this thought is that I feel as though I have the solution to some of the issues that I’ve encountered and pondered over a piping hot cup of coffee. I also have a long commute everyday (brought on by the aforementioned Don Holt bridge), which lends itself towards stewing over the many issues and challenges that face my marriage, my personal growth, my career, being a foster parent, my life as a Christian, my country, my loved ones, etc., but you get the point. When I have a thought that I believe is pertinent to someone’s situation, I am always eager to share it. Sometimes it’s well received and other times I get that awkward glare like someone just wafted some 3 week old sour milk.
In either of those cases though, the idea of being silent is not really an option, and here’s why. Let’s say I somehow find the cure for cancer in my non existent garage lab. Then let’s say my bestie is diagnosed with cancer. If I care about him at all, shouldn’t I tell him that I know of a way to cure his cancer? The same can be said for my thoughts on traffic, politics, or my beliefs as a Christian. If I may have the solution, then it is imperative that it be shared.
I always feel a mixture of sad and indignant when I look at all of these jokers running for President and claiming to have the solution for everyone. They’ll build a wall to help you get a job. They’ll pay for your college so you won’t have to live in your mom’s basement. They’ll give women more money to finally achieve equality. On and on these claims go, shifting with public opinion like a cloud of pollen in the wind…and both irritate me equally. The sad truth is that none of these people are the solution because none of them have power over the problem. I recently heard someone say that all of these mud-slingers are claiming to have a political solution to a spiritual problem and I think that’s spot-on. It’s the equivalent of a 1 year old trying to fit the square block into the triangle hole. We know it’s not working and will leave them more frustrated than when they started, yet they do so anyway because they don’t know any other way. So what someone actually knew the solution?
To shift gears for a quick second though, there’s a certain amount of humility that is built through silent faith and I am not knocking that. In fact, Jesus himself once said that the religious elite who “prayed on the street corners” were doing so just for attention. That was because their attitudes were a bit askew, but you still get the point. That’s usually my go-to thought when I see people holding signs along the road condemning passersby to an eternity in hell. I can’t figure out what purpose that serves beyond making the passionate sign holders feel as though they’re putting a notch in their belt. But I digress.
Anyway, Ecclesiastes chapter 3 starts out by saying:
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.
All that being said, there is a time to live your faith quietly and there is a time to speak the truth. In the era of social media it has become a very tricky thing for me to discern when to speak and when to shut up. My default response is to fire from the hip, but that almost always leads to hurt feelings and missed opportunities. Knowing when to be silent is an art. Knowing when (and equally as important, HOW)to speak the truth is essential to my faith though.
If you don’t take anything else from this though, please walk away with this point: If you are unable to be vocal about your faith while doing so from a calm position that is based on love, then please don’t do so at all. This is a growing process for me because I tend to look at the world through a black and white lens. I am learning, overtime, that I often times do not see the entire picture and responding quickly or angrily has overwhelming odds stacked against me. Anyway, back on track.
If what I believe is so existential to the very survival of those I come in contact with, what kind of person would I be if I did not share these thoughts with them? In a similar vein to that, if what I believe is as true as the very laws of physics, why wouldn’t I share that? Not doing so invalidates the legitimacy of the truths I believe, at least from the perspective of those around me.
If you are wired as an introvert, living a quiet and humble life that exemplifies your pursuit of becoming more Christ-like, then I applaud you. That is a skill which I have not mastered. Your quiet faith is, I am sure, a bastion to those around you in times of need. When I say “the hypocrisy of silence”, I am not speaking to those who choose to quietly live their faith. How you demonstrate your relationship with an all-loving God is your choice and is largely impacted by how you’re wired. Right now I am speaking to extroverts who are wired for speaking, but fail to engage. The ones who are equipped for conveying the truth in a loving way but simply never show up.
So here’s a few truths that have encouraged me to continue speaking the truth, even when it clashes with the environment around me.
- Live it like it’s actually true. If I don’t, then one of two things must be true:
- I don’t actually believe it
- I don’t actually care about those around me
- Be brave. If the proverbial quest of all Christ followers is to become more like Christ, then what does that actually look like? Christ regularly found himself surrounded by those who disagreed with him and engaged in conversations about culture with those who doubted his bold statements.
- In every word I speak, choose to speak it in love. John 13:35 says “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” It really is as simple as that.
So, to sum it all up: I don’t live my faith quietly and I never will. The very nature of that statement may upset some, but living in any other way would be hypocritical to the magnitude of my beliefs. There’s a common saying that goes “There’s always a Cop around until you need one.” Well, take a look around. The world needs Christians. And not the silent kind, so make sure you show up.
Live it like it’s true. Be brave. Choose Love.