Silence is Golden?

By Not Known

What if God had created human beings without tongues? Our world would be void of great speeches that have otherwise shaped our history – the call to peace, the rousing to war, the shout of protest, the arbitration of conflict, and the consolation of suffering. There would be no poets, philosophers, singers and orators. Collective memories of human civilisations based on oral traditions would be impossible. We would have no idea of our roots. The world of ‘wordless’ silence is not always golden, or is it?

The world came into being by God speaking the first words. His creative words are powerful, setting life in motion and ordering it according to his divine good will. When God spoke in antiquity, through the Law and the Prophets, sins were chastised and the restoration of relationship with his people was made possible. In the last days, God has once again spoken by his Son who is the radiance of his glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:2-3). What if God had been silent? Divine silence is not always golden.

Words and the tongue are quite inseparable. Consider now what a tongue is. Biologists may say it is a mass of tissues and glands. Gastronomists may say it is an orchestra of taste-buds. Philosophers may say it is a vessel of reasoning. Poets may say it is an instrument of rhetoric. Politicians may say it is a double-edged sword for both friends and foes. But the biblical writer James says, it is like a ‘bit’ that directs, a ‘rudder’ that steers, a spout for boasting, a ‘fire’ that burns, a hub of poisons, yet an instrument for both worship and cursing. How ironical; how true to life!

The first tongue that ever existed is not a human lingua but God’s creative, re-creative, and covenanting words that culminated in the very Word – Jesus Christ. Of this Word, the evangelist John testified – In him was life, and that life was the light of men …(he was) full of grace and truth. (John 1:4, 14)

God has created human beings with tongues. As his creatures, we who are endowed with his image and likeness, are to use our God-given tongues to magnify his glory and to testify to his grace; to call for peace where conflict is rife; to cry for justice where atrocity prevails. Whatever we say, we are to keep our tongues crossed in Christ.

What is your tongue like? How have you been using it? Let’s not be silent. Let’s keep using our tongues to praise God and to edify people today.


Benson Goh