ONE of the key skills of listening is silence, allowing awkwardness its cherished place in relationships.
In the awkward silence is space where God works in liberating truth from guarded lips, as a person courageously trusts the caring moment.
ENTERING THE SILENCE
How few relational interactions feature the space of silence? Too few. Too many exchanges occur when both parties insist on having their say, neither listening to the intent, motive and message of the other.
But entering the silence is simply the art of one person agreeing to say nothing until the right time comes. This person may have a simple question to ask — that’s all.
There is power in that one question. Could be five words. Could simply be one.
As something is said in rigid simplicity power emanates from that word.
The opportunity to lay one pregnant sentence into the communication is only available when we listen sufficiently through silence, communicating through body language and gestures where at all possible.
TRUSTING THE SILENCE
If we ever wish to have a transformational interaction, to cause someone to think, to encourage someone to heal, to show empathy, we must trust the silence within which the ministry is to occur.
We put off the desire to give them our advice. We leave home the truths we believe will help. The words of distraction remain in the car or in another room. Focus and attention comes in the silence.
And in the silence, listen for the Spirit. He needs no words of our assistance. The Spirit will communicate something in the awkward listening silence. Remain there.
Listening has such value in communication, and many times more listening that trusts the awkwardness in silence.