That girl or guy in the room that doesn't say much unless it counts? He or she tends to get mad respect from those who know them. Why? Because those people don't feel compelled to fill the silence with noise. Deep thought and meaningful verbiage are typically their calling cards. In my world, that quiet voice laced with wisdom typically ended an argument, or at minimum rendered people somewhat speechless. A voice of reason giving perspective requiring introspection.
I like those people.
We need more of those people.
Social media is a playground, with all the characters in play: the bullies, the victims, the crowds who take sides, and the innocent bystanders. As a teacher, I witnessed these dynamics play out in real time and whether it was a minor skirmish or a full-on brawl, hurt was always a consequence. Many times, deep hurt that couldn't be fixed with a band-aid or an I'm sorry. Grown-ups escalate the scene exponentially.
In this provocative age, how do we respond in light of Galatians 5?
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
We are feasting on one another.
And it's ugly.
I'm a fan of Jesus's reactions to the folks he encountered as told in scripture. Whether he was responding to a pharisee, a disciple, a prostitute, a tax-collector, a traitor, or Satan himself, Jesus chose his words with the wisdom and timing of a pro. Seriously, if you haven't scoured the gospels and studied the fascinating Socratic method at its best, you should get to it. Jesus is the Master of truth-telling, flip-the-table, make-you-think-until-you're-twitchy responses.
But here's the thing.
I know he was God in a body. I get that. But he was also human. Flesh and blood. He was an infant that grew into a child that transformed into a teenager that matured into a man. And he must have been a studier of people. Did his divine perception one-up ours? Oh, no doubt. Jesus had zero problem seeing past the exterior in order to dive deep into the interior.
(Side note: He gave us the Holy Spirit upon salvation, so that 'ole,"But He was God," excuse doesn't work as well post-ascension. Do we really access that power on a regular basis and ask for wisdom and discernment? Just a thought.)
Personally, I believe Jesus learned serious skill in the workshop. Making things. I don't know what the carpentry facilities looked like in Bible times, but I would imagine that gig required perception, discernment, and silence.
God's timing is perfect, right? Jesus was in his thirties when He began his public ministry. If you're paying attention and intentional, you can learn a lot about people by the time the thirties hit.
So, yeah, Jesus knew his audience. He knew whether to ask a question, tell a story, perform a miracle, or walk away and rest on a mountain top.
The thought-provoking question that's been asked for a while now holds true. What would Jesus do? Too many people justify their behavior by playing that table-turning-temple-card. But those folks were desecrating His holy father's house. His response, though effective, could have been a lot worse. No, that question doesn't deserve a quippy answer. Study and find out. What would he do? What did he do?
Sometimes, he was #silentstrong.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.