Avoiding or delaying a difficult conversation can hurt your relationships and create other negative outcomes. In a secular workplace environment, there are parameters put in place that surround conflict resolution. If you are fortunate enough to be supervised by a professional manager, the process of having a difficult conversation will most likely have a fair outcome. In most organizations, the core values and policies are bible. A breach of the standard of conduct can result in disciplinary actions that may prohibit promotion, and in some cases, termination. There are a plethora of individuals who are forced to stay in positions that they hate because they have to babysit their own lies, especially in white collar environments.
In church, difficult conversations are often swept over and called compassion. In cases of extreme conflict, the saints will try to force a confession out of you. But what happens when God tells you to be quiet? Is silence really a weapon of warfare? My answer is yes and honestly, it's becoming one of my favorite ones.
I'll Speak On My Own Terms... Right?
I am the type of person that prefers to have difficult conversations immediately. I don’t like to give liars an opportunity to create another lie. Also, I don’t like to waste time. In my humble opinion, anxiety is the thief of productivity because of its carelessness towards time.
I’ve noticed that when I address conflict on my own terms, deflection is also the weapon of choice for most of my counterparts. While deflection is the weapon of cowards, it’s a common weapon used by others who are intimidated by things and people that they do not easily understand. Additionally, the authority behind my voice has a tendency to make the demons inside of people uncomfortable. If you're churchy, you understand this reference. But try explaining by your boss is manifesting a demon because you exposed a spirit working within him or her. Yep. Awkward. Needless to say, I’ve found myself in a quite a few conundrums when addressing conflicts. Not because I was always right, but because I was suppose to be silent.
My favorite phrase for the past six months has been this:
“I'm not going to talk about that right now”.
There are at least ten things that close friends, co-workers, clients, church members are all waiting for me to clarify or resolve. But God is really funny. Every time I attempt to set the record straight about something or give my little two cents, I hear the Lord repeat this same phrase:
I WILL SPEAK FOR YOU.
Do you know how irritating that is? I know the Lord has a voice… and it can get pretty loud, but what about my voice! But because I fear the Lord, I shut up. But here’s how my mind works:
What if they hear you, but disobey?
How will they know it’s you?
Lord, I feel stupid for keeping my mouth shut.
Lord, I help you speak in 140 characters or less… that’s all I need.
I look crazy.
Please, just let me explain myself.
Trust me, I've disobeyed God and spoke on my own terms and guess what? It sounded like I was hearing-impaired. It's easy to recognize when a person is hearing-impaired because of their speech. In the 18th-19th century, individuals that were hearing-impaired were considered dumb because they were silent. On the contrary, individuals that are hearing-impaired are far from being dumb and silent, they just communicate differently. Communication is not reserved for hearing people alone, and using one’s voice is not the only way to communicate.
In this season, God is silencing your voice so that he can communicate with you and also on your behalf. Guess how you'll be able to communicate with others? Sign-language.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Matthew 16: 17-18
I’m the type of child that doesn’t like to get in trouble with God, but my mouth can get me in trouble. Through trial and error, I realize that it is not my job to narrative the signs that follow me as a believer. God needs no assistance. My role is to shut up so that the sign will be revealed. I don't know what you are standing in the need of, but do not think that your silence makes you a punk. God is about override the narrative that you've rehearsed and speak on your behalf. The word for this situation is theophany.
Simply put, a theophany is an appearance of God. More precisely, it is a visible display to human beings that expresses the presence and character of God. Examples include God’s appearance at the top of Mount Sinai (Ex. 19); the burning bush (Ex. 3); appearances to Abraham (Gen. 15:1; 17:1; 18:1), Isaac (Gen. 26:2), Ezekiel's vision (Ezek. 1), and John's vision of God on his throne (Rev. 4-5). There are more, but I just named a few. God is literally about to interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to restore, clarify, instruct, vindicate and reveal.