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Creating Powerful Silence


I currently have a 6 year old daughter and she fills the silence with her talking…incessantly. One day at a loss for what to say, she asked me,

“Daddy, what’s your favorite math problem?”

My favorite math problem, really? I’ve had no idea what my favorite math problem was, but I do know she had found an excuse, any excuse, to talk to her Daddy. With kids, parents, and families there are so many chances we have to fill the air with words of encouragement, hope, and opportunity. The Bible says we hold the power of life and death in our words.

What if you also held power in what you didn’t say?

There is great power in staying silent. The power for good and the power of evil. The current Penn State scandal, is because the administrators chose to say nothing about the child sexual abuse that was happening. By staying silent, they were actually communicating a lot. They communicated that they didn’t care. We’ve seen this evil silence in the German Christians during the holocaust, the silent American Christians during the civil rights debate in the 60’s, and every day there is someone that chooses to damage by what they don’t say.

What if you could also empower with your silence?  

Using silence for the power of good, was a skill that Jesus demonstrated to the  adulteress  woman  in John 8. We always remember the, “He who has no sin…” speech, but the real power is in what he chose not to say to the woman. He didn’t have to give her a play-by-play on the obvious. It was through his silence that he communicated forgiveness, hope, and redemption. There was so much to say, and all He said was, “Go and sin no more.”

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Chris Spradlin · July 25, 2012

    really good Jonathan. the Penn State example is such a perfect & (horrible) example of keeping silent. Your post caused me to think about Joe Paterno & his ruined legacy. The reality is that Joe’s legacy has been ruined because he kept silent.

    • Jonathan Cliff · July 25, 2012

      His silence was more damaging than if he would have come out and said, “I support child abusers!”

      You know those moments when you don’t tell someone what they expect you to say, and instead just nod your head and listen? I’d like more of those in my life!