Many of us recently watched as Amy Coney Barrett went through the Senate confirmation hearings to fill the vacant position on the U.S. Supreme Court left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Each member of the Judiciary Committee was able to ask her questions to determine how well qualified they felt she was to fill the position. In watching this, I noticed something very interesting. There were many times when a Senator would make statements or give opinions about her and not ask a question or give her opportunity to respond. But that was not what I found interesting. What I found interesting was the fact that she remained silent. Most people, upon hearing things being said about them, whether they are true or not, would demand their opportunity to respond. But she did not. And it wasn’t until the next Senator would ask if she had anything she would like to say regarding the previous Senator’s statements that she would respond. In watching this, a scripture quickly came to mind – James 1:19-20 – So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God (NKJV). This scripture speaks about three things: listening, responding and getting angry. We see this displayed all too often especially on TV. In fact, many times that is the goal – to get people angry. Let’s look at this verse from the Message Bible as it really paints a picture for us: 19 Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. 20 God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. We create a trap for ourselves when we speak before we truly listen. In listening, there’s more to hear than just what the person is saying. But, what is the Holy Spirit saying? Jesus also remained silent in front of His accusers and it left them baffled. Have you ever gotten that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach after you spoke out or hit that send button and wished you could unsend? If we are confident that we have done what is right in God’s eyes and conducted ourselves in a righteous manner, we do not have to defend ourselves because God will!
11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. 12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield. Psalm 5:11-12 (NKJV)
2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2 (NKJV)
61 But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Mark 14:61 (NKJV)
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 1 Peter 2:23 (NKJV)