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The Scream of Silence

April 3rd, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 13: 13-14 (NLT)

 13 People who despise advice are asking for trouble;
      those who respect a command will succeed.

 14 The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain;
      those who accept it avoid the snares of death.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Have you ever noticed that oftentimes what we don’t say is just as . . . or possibly more crucial than what we do say?  There are plenty of situations in which you do not want to hear hesitation or avoidance in someone’s voice.  Insert a long pause at the end of each of these and you’ll see just what I mean.

Waiter, is this a strand of hair or a really dark piece of pasta?

Now that I’ve sung you this song on the jumbotron here at the Superbowl, will you marry me?

Officer, is that gun loaded?

No, no!  Don’t worry . . . this is a stuffed cheetah I’m petting . . . isn’t it?

Silence is golden . . . and sometimes detrimental to our situation.  When we don’t listen and don’t respond in the correct way to certain situations, our lack of words actually ask for something else altogether. . . it’s an unspoken request that resounds loud and clear . . . trouble.

Just absorb this passage: “People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed.”  Come on, dude!  No one ever actually asks for trouble.  No one deliberately walks through life thinking, “Yeah, I’m going to screw this thing up in a royal way!”  No, we sincerely believe that trouble is a result of bad luck or a hidden conspiracy against us.  We assume that people just don’t like us for no good reason at all.  We very rarely point the finger at ourselves for a little self-interrogation . . . where did I miss it?

Quietly ignoring wisdom and good advice is like initiating a personal satellite feed that broadcasts to all the world a request for trouble.  

Slow down?  Nah, I’ll be fine.  

Study for the test?  Eh, who cares about education . . . I’ve got a real talent for bungee jumping.  

Walk away from the fight?  Dude, just because there are twelve of them and one of me and they’re armed with knives and I’m wearing a neck tie and a pocket-protector does not mean that I’m going to let them insult the rims on my Yugo!  

You get the point.

Ah, what words we find here . . . unpopular words like advice.  Respect.  Command. Instruction . . . all the things that we really don’t like to listen to or respond to.  But as I always tell my students, a lack of a response is a response in and of itself.  Our inaction is sometimes our most important action.

Those who find that mystical “fountain” that flows with life, success, and happiness usually stop and ask for directions.  In fact, even when they are sipping the mint juleps of joy out on the veranda of significance, they are still seeking wisdom.  Why else would Tiger Woods have a golf coach?  Why would huge churches bring in growth consultants?  Why would multi-billion dollar companies still hire leadership gurus to examine their organization?

For that matter, why would Jesus Himself seek the will of God the Father every morning before sunrise?  In His case, He laid aside His heavenly power in order to put Himself in the same process that you and I are in today . . . the process of asking for direction from Someone who may just know more than we do.

When that wisdom comes, will we listen or will we let our silence scream out for trouble?




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