The Cost of Silence
There is a powerfully convicting verse in James 4. In verse 17 it says, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
My friends, it is high time we break the silence and talk about the cost of silence.
For any of you who have been reading this blog lately, you know it has been an extremely tough year for me personally. And this past month has been exceptionally rough.
It is during these dark nights of my soul, that doubt and questions begin to creep in…
- Why should I stand for truth if it brings terrible loss, attacks and isolation into my life?
- If a smoother road in life simply requires me to avoid the controversial side of truth and be a little more toned down in my stance, why not take it?
- If my silence buys me favor, friends and fortune, why not take that route?
As the questions and doubts have threatened to drown me, I’ve asked myself many times this past year, “Maybe Nathaniel, you should just be silent. All this pain would quickly go away if you stopped being so controversial and so clear.”
But then, the Lord timely reminded me of the cost of silence.
- Millions of Jews were slaughtered in the Holocaust, in large part due to the silence of many in this world and their unwillingness to get involved.
- 60+ million innocent babies have been murdered in America, due to the silence of many of our citizens. Silence on the value of life, silence on God’s design for human sexuality, silence on purity, silence on holding our leaders accountable, silence on the evils and greediness of the abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood.
- Tens of millions are enslaved in human trafficking due to the silence of most in the world. Silence because of the lucrative $99 billion it brings in yearly. Silence because it is easier to turn a blind eye than get involved in the messy work of freeing and restoring those held captive. Silence, because once again, the value of life is not taught. Silence because sin and wickedness are loved more than love, purity and truth.
- Billions are enslaved in false religions. Silence exists because of the difficulty of sharing truth. Silence because it forces one out of their comfort zone. Silence because the temporal is considered more important than eternal souls.
- Hundreds of millions are enslaved in false versions of Christianity. Silence remains because speaking out against such false teachings results in vicious attacks. Silence because of the isolation speaking truth will bring. Silence because speaking truth will decrease the numbers of one’s ministry. Silence because friends will be lost. Silence because we love our comfort and ease more than the souls of our fellow man. Silence because we’d rather have temporal peace now instead of eternal peace later. Silence because we fear man more than God.
- Blasphemy of the name of God is considered the norm in our society. Silence by me when God’s name is misused is my affirmation of the blasphemy.
- And the list could go on and on…
Do I even begin to realize the seriousness of my silence? Do I truly understand that for evil to triumph, I simply have to do nothing, to stay silent?
Look, I’ll be the first to admit it is brutally hard taking a stand for truth.
Standing up to my peers and elders when there have been discrepancies in truth has been terrifying.
It has been heart-wrenching to have to choose God’s truth over the advice and counsel of people I love and respect.
The slander and accusations that have come in speaking up for truth have been incredibly painful.
To top it all off, it is deeply frightening to consider the implications and cost speaking up for truth will have on the rest of my life.
Yet, which is worse?
Personal pain for speaking the truth?
Or, the blood of others on my hands, because I, the watchman, chose silence over their safety and well-being?
It is difficult to admit this, but my fear of speaking truth has nothing to do with an interest for the good of others. Even if I so often tell myself I remain silent because I don’t want to hurt their feelings or cause a rift between us.
No, that isn’t my main concern.
My main concern is myself. I want to live life on easy street and be admired and liked by everyone. I am more hungry for the praise of men rather than the praise of God. I am more concerned about temporal rewards and relationships, rather than eternal rewards and eternal relationships.
Once again, the reason for my silence is my obsession with self, rather than the service and care of others.
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
So what will my decision be? Silence or truth? Self or others? Temporal or eternal?
May God grant me grace to open my mouth and not be silent. Yes, may He fill my words with love and grace, but may it be a a biblical love and grace. A love that cares enough for another to speak truth, even when it is hard.
I don’t want innocent blood on my hands.
My friends, silence is not an option.
So when the temptation to stay silent comes knocking at my door, may God remind me of the cruel cost of silence and may I open my mouth wide to speak His truth in His power.
Onward for His glory by His grace.