When a “Moment of Silence” Lasts too Long
People are tired of worn out clichés.
After the Parkland, Florida school shooting a student proclaimed, “No more thoughts and prayers!”
At this week’s airing of “Billboard Music Awards” Kelly Clarkson was asked to lead a “Moment of Silence” in honor of those who lost their lives in the recent Santa Fe, Texas shooting. Instead she told her audience she is sick of moments of “silence”. She said it is time for “action.”
Please don’t misunderstand. We need to think about people whose lives have been devastated by evil acts of violence. We need to pray for them. It is also important to collectively take time, even if it is a moment, to recognize tragedies that impact us all.
But as time has passed, and our “thoughts, prayers and moments of silence” have not stopped the carnage, these well-intentioned expressions of sympathy have become more of an irritant than a comfort.
Because they are not the complete answer to the problem.
They were never intended to be.
Jesus taught us to pray, but he also commanded us to act. In fact, Jesus reserved some of His harshest words for religious leaders in His day who talked a good talk but were “full of dead men’s bones” (in Jesus’ own words – Matthew 23:27).
You won’t find any official “moments of silence” in the Bible, but you will find these words from Jesus: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Mat 7:21 NIV)
In other words, “Enough thoughts and prayers! No more ‘moments of silence’.”
At least not until we have put what God has placed on our hearts into action.
Unless, of course, when we say we are thinking and praying we are really blowing smoke.
Thinking about whose going to win the game after the “moment of silence” is over, perhaps.
Or how many “likes” we are going to get on Facebook for our lofty comments.
I am not cynical by nature, but I get it. And I don’t blame people for being suspicious when people toss out spiritual platitudes and do nothing, as if words are all we need to heal our world.
Maybe our “moment of silence” has lasted much too long. One thing is for sure: If it lasts much longer we might as well remain silent.
There is little point in speaking when people stop listening.