The quiet husband, father, or friend is not the most authentic picture of Christ. Biblical leadership is verbal because to lead well requires words. God leads us with His Words; He is a talking God. If you want to impact and guide others, you must talk.
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Silence may be quiet to those around you, but it is not silent them because silence demands that they interpret your lack of words. Just because you’re not saying what you’re thinking on the inside, it does not mean others are refraining from supplying an interpretation to your quietness.
The person who chooses not to communicate entices others to fill in the blanks, to clear up the mystery that silence communicates to others. The silent partner abdicates the opportunity to explain himself while forcing others to speculate on what his silence means.
Silence is never neutral. The receivers of your silence instinctively supply an interpretation, which will never interpret your attitudes and thoughts accurately. The interpreter can only determine answers based on their understanding of the problem, and if their speculation is faulty, their conclusions about you will be erroneous.
The healthiest relationships are talking relationships. Ongoing mature communication in any relationship is the key that will stabilize the relationship. This perspective is why we have God’s Word.
A Talking God
The Lord does not want us to ignorantly speculate on who He is and what He is up to in our lives. He has given us His Word to clear the mystery that exists between us (Deuteronomy 29:29). God is a speaking God; He is a communicating God.
The strength of any relationship rests in the quality of the communication within the relationship. The father bathes us in His Word (Ephesians 5:26) because He knows it’s only by His Word that we can be clean (John 17:17). Praise Him that He is a speaking God.
Do you want to lead well? All good leaders are verbal because it is impossible to lead well while choosing silence as the central plank in your leadership platform. Learn the skill of communication.
A Quiet Dad
Mable lived with a quiet dad. He was a reserved, passive, and non-communicative guy. Her dad would say that being quiet is who he is. Whenever he was challenged to talk more, he would quickly drop the “God card” on the table by saying, “God made me this way.”
There was no question that he was a quiet person, and there is no argument that he was not connecting the gospel dots: Christ came to change us from how we are so there would be a progressive, incremental change into someone else (Ephesians 4:22-24). To say that God made you that way is an immature response that negates the transformative power of the gospel in an individual’s life.
Jesus came to save us from ourselves, to change us (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is intellectually dishonest to say “this is who I am” while not cooperating with the Lord to become something better than “just as I am.”
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2
It is on you and me to cooperate with the Lord to change us from who we are so we can more effectively imitate God (Ephesians 5:1). God came to give the quiet guy words to say. He came to transform our tongues into redemptive tools for the building up of others (Ephesians. 4:29).
With (our tongues) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. – James 3:9-10
This concept does not mean the quiet guy should become a talking head. Quiet Biff should not become a “chatty Cathy,” but quiet Biff should be willing to take his soul to task to see what it’s like to experience transformation into a gospel-centered communicator.
Learn More about True Communication
A Shy Boy
The gospel is like a multi-faceted diamond where every turn of the diamond reveals a previously undisclosed aspect that impresses and motivates us all over again. And Christians want to “turn the diamond” of the gospel because being excited and motivated by it is biblically addictive.
And one of the most beautiful facets of the gospel is communication; the Lord leads us with His words. For you and me, we have to choose whether we want to live like Adam-people or Christ-people. Adam decided to hide behind his fig leaves of shame. He was afraid and self-reliant, which tempted him to withdraw into the background (Genesis 3:6-12).
It is native for us to be like Adam as we retreat behind the walls of silence. The first twenty-five years of my life, I hardly said a word. My brother said that my silence was one of the things he hated the most about me. I suppose if I wanted to make excuses for my silence, I would say that,
- I was lazy.
- I not wired to talk.
- My dad beat me down through verbal and physical abuse.
- Hiding behind quietness was safer than “putting me out there” only to experience abuse.
- Television became a safe place where I could retreat.
- I trained myself to talk inside my head. Reflection, introspection, and analysis became a strength.
- I learned not to trust people; I distanced myself from them.
- I never learned how to talk, which is why I’m prickly in social settings.
- The result was that being quiet was easy, preferable, and safe.
- I could only act Adamic; I was born “that way.”
After becoming an adult, I had to engage the adult world. I was full of fear of man and social ineptness. Living inside my head while living in the world caused relational problems. Early in our marriage, I appealed to Lucia to take charge of our social calendar. I told her that if I were in control of our social calendar, we would never go anywhere.
Being a homebody was safe for me. Not talking to others is preferable. Anything that can keep me from community engagement was always my first call to action, which is an anti-gospel life.
A Gospelized Tongue
Here are four keywords that the gospel transforms us into so we can imitate our social God. This list is not exhaustive, but it does provide you a peek into our profound “multi-faceted diamond” that we call the gospel.
- God is a speaking God.
- God is an engaging God.
- God is an intentional God.
- God is a penetrating God.
Gospel people cannot hide behind the excuse of quietness because the gospel demands that we live well in the communities of our world, as well as the body of Christ. I regularly see the irony in what I do for a living. I provide for my family through communication. Talking is my life.
Some people have said that it appears to be an easy thing for me to communicate. I always smile on the inside when I hear this. They have no idea the work involved for me to be a communicator. It takes a lot of preaching the gospel daily to keep the focus on my need to talk.
If I had my way, I would say very little. I’m quite comfortable at being quiet. I enjoy living inside my head. As an Adam person, I do not feel the need to be where people are. I do not feel compelled always to have to say something. As a Christ person, I cannot keep myself from talking.
Typically my best friends are talkers, though that is not necessarily a good thing. I’m comfortable with being quiet, and they are satisfied with talking. In a way, we feed each others’ idolatry. They have to keep on learning to be quiet, and I have to keep on learning to talk.
Call to Action
This article is for the quiet person, not the talking person. If many words are not your thing, I challenge you to learn how to communicate. I appeal to you to be like Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). You must step out from behind the fig leaves of fear, while stepping in the power of the Spirit, and start talking.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. – Galatians 5:16-17
If you are a quiet husband, your wife needs your redemptive speech. If you are a silent dad, you must not leave your silence open for your child’s misinterpretation. If you do, both of you will lose. You will lose your child, and your child will look for someone willing to talk to them.
- How are you doing with your words?
- How is the gospel transforming your speech patterns?
- How motivated are you to leave your comfort zone while entering the life of another person?
- Does your speech generally build up others or tear them down?
Jesus lived in the community of the Trinity, but He chose to set aside what He had so He could enter into our world (Philippians 2:5-11), become like us (John 1:14), with the hope of saving us from ourselves (Hebrews 2:14-15).
The quiet husband, father, or friend cannot be like Christ. He must repent because leadership is verbal, as we see God leading us with His Words. If you want to guide those you love, you must start talking.
Six Practical Tips
- Quietness and shyness are two different things. Shyness is a person who is afraid to talk while quietness is not so much about fear as it is about laziness, apathy, hate, or other narcissistic manifestations.
- Perhaps you need to do as I did by having someone lead you into a more vibrant social life.
- Prayer will be your most reliable ally as you plead with the Lord to make you a talker, though not a talking head.
- Don’t disqualify yourself by saying that you have nothing to say. You have a relationship with the Lord, and you don’t want to be selfish with your words by withholding them.
- For more information about this, please check out the three articles at the top of this piece.
- Finally, if you would like to talk about talking, please come to our free or private forums. Get your username and password here.