Words can foster peace or destruction in our marriages. As you know, a snide remark can offset an entire evening, week, or longer. But a word aptly spoken or even silence can give life and peace to our marriage relationships.
Do we become defensive when our spouses criticize or question us? Or do we put our spouses before the need to be right by showing restraint when we want to argue? There is a time to speak up in our marriages, but there is also a time to be silent.
Jesus mastered the fine art of knowing when to be silent and when to speak.
“When they hurled insults at [Jesus], he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23
Wow. Jesus did not retaliate and he made no threats–all because he trusted God. In my pride, I want to fight back and get even. But Jesus sets a different example. He whispers for me to be silent; be kind; to trust God. All too often I fail at this, but he reminds me that unfailing love means you never give up. You try again. I have to bathe my mind and soul with the Lord’s words because in my own skin, my instinct is to pay back. But, in Jesus’, it’s to be the bigger person by holding back.
I wonder if Jesus’ first reaction at times was silence because the human part of him desired retaliation, but out of obedience to his Father, he paused to ensure his words were honoring? I find that when I hesitate with my replies, many arguments are diffused. Proverbs 17:4 says, “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” How many times I wish I had dropped a matter before an argument broke out.
The good news is that today and tomorrow we have grace to try again because most likely we will behold another disagreement. Let’s watch what happens when instead of retaliating, we pause. We choose grace. We choose confidence. We choose humility.
The world teaches us to fight for our name and defend. But, usually those who take up this stance appear guilty.
Those who do not justify or explain, prove themselves by no response or a simple one. Jesus exemplified this. “Many testified falsely against him…Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony these men are bringing against you? But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am’, said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’” (Mark 14:56, 60-62).
Jesus remained silent when he needed to and spoke when it was the right time. When our confidence is found in the Lord and not others, we have the strength to withhold hurtful, piercing words, and to replace them with silence or life-giving words. The Love Dare is a devotional that encourages us to love our spouses in this way. Let’s discover the selfless art of knowing when to be silent and when to speak so our marriages can exude peace and thrive.
To learn more about Linsey visit www.LinseyDriskill.com. You can follow her on Facebook or Instagram @BeautifulHeartedParenting.