We wrestle with feeling justified in our thoughts and feelings and almost compelled to make them known, especially in moments of tension, argument or when we are false accused. It is uncomfortable to remain silent at times.
So why? Why choose to bit your tongue and not share the thoughts flying through your heat like a tilt a whirl?
Answer: The relationship is more important than the relief we will feel by speaking our mind.
I call this “the deeper yes.” – it means choosing important over the urgent or feel good option of the moment.
It’s hard and uncomfortable most of the time. But usually the wiser and more loving choice! Whenever we put the relationships, the end result, the bigger picture first , we take a huge step towards creating better relationships.
Part of my work, as The Better Relationship Coach, is helping people create a better relationship with God. Twice a year, during the seasons of Lent and Advent, I write about my faith on a daily instead of weekly basis. No matter what your faith is, the following lesson remains relevant.
Yesterday we read about Jesus being silent before his accusers.
He is totally in the right. He is being falsely accused and beaten… and he didn’t do anything wrong! He has the power to not only prove how wrong his accuser are but to wipe them out with a word. And yet, Jesus remains silent.
This puzzles me -sometimes Jesus speaks up and tells folks like it is, when they point fingers and level accusations and other times he remains silent in very similar situations.
Wouldn’t it be easier if there was a formula for when to bite our tongue and remain silent or when to speak up?
- In situations A, B & C it is “right” to speak up, defend, explain
- In situations 1, 2, or 3, it is “right” to remain silent.
A formula equips us to know what to do. We can learn, master and “get it right” when we have a formula of “always do this, and never do that!”
But, what we do isn’t the point, why we do it is the deeper question.
In general, I think we have a default mode: fighters speak up, flighters tend to remain quiet – but often this choice is not made based on what is best for the relationships, but rather what is more comfortable for us.
I am a fighter: quick to reply or retort with:
- “let me tell you like it is,”
- “here are the facts you got wrong,”
- “what are you talking about.”
Explaining, making something perfectly clear and speaking up is my knee jerk reaction.
How about you?
Do you: speak up and defend yourself, when it is wiser to remain silent?
Maybe you are more of a flighter and stay silent when you should be speaking up.
I believe that what we do is rarely as important as why we do it.
Instead of a formula, it’s all about the why, the bigger picture, the relationship. When we step back from the moment- from our need to get it right, or find some relief – we gain perspective.
Now…why we are speaking or biting our tongue becomes the criteria for assessing our actions. No formula, all heart!
Lots of time people ask me:
- “Is this right or wrong?”
- “Just tell me what to do, I just want to get it right,”
- Even “What would Jesus do?”
And they are usually unhappy with my answer of “It depends…Why would you do/not do and say/not say it?”
Jesus’ actions and words were always governed by a bigger purpose and plan that revolved around relationships.
When we are in a heated moment, being falsely accused, questioned or misunderstood we can choose how to respond based on what is best for the relationship in the long run.
Is it hard. yep! Is it worth it… you bet!
This week try focusing on why you do instead of what you do in order to create better relationships. And let me know how it goes!
Have you ever stepped back and viewed a difficult conversation or moment from the perspective of what is best or most important for this relationship in the long run?
What your knee jerk reaction did you refrain from- speaking up or remaining silent- and what was the impact of your choice?