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Silence Speaks Volumes

"You're not a good person or being a good mother," read the text from my ex-husband. Hundreds more libelous statements have spewed from his mouth and fingertips in the eight years we have been divorced—to my children, to my children's teachers and principals, to my parents, to my employer, to anyone who will listen. He knows just where to cut me down to get a response from me, and this particular time, I lost. I responded to him out of hurt and anger. I know I'm a great mom, and I'm a pretty fantastic person, too. But I let his words get to me, because I wanted to prove to him that I am not the things he accuses me of. I didn't stick to the silence method I've used so many times before.

In psychology, the "Gray Rock Method" is a conflict resolution/de-escalation tactic where you basically make your personality and responses as interesting as a gray rock. You reply in monotone, with usually monosyllabic responses: "Yes." "No." "Fine." The primary goal is to get someone to lose interest in you. This method is usually used with a narcissist who feeds on getting a reaction out of you. 

In the eight years since my divorce, I've gotten better at the Gray Rock Method, but I'll admit I've failed many times. He has treated me with disrespect and contempt more times than I could ever count. Some people have asked me why I continue to allow him to speak to me in the tone he does, or talk to me the way he talks to me. The answer is simple—I don't. I try my best to just be silent. To walk away. To not respond. To Gray Rock. 

I've learned that defending myself against these accusations only gives him more ammunition to use against me. I've learned that defending myself does not make me look righteous or right. Jesus knew He never needed to defend Himself; He just had to walk away.

In Luke 4, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. Everyone got mad at him and drove him to the edge of town and wanted to throw him off a cliff. What did Jesus do? Luke 4:30 says, "But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way." He walked away. Silence. He walked away from them. He didn't defend Himself; he didn't attempt to convince them of His sovereignty. He walked away. If Jesus walks away from those who accuse Him, so should I. 

Like Jesus, our identity is not tied to what people think about us or how they treat us. Our identity is in Christ alone. I still struggle with wanting people to like me. I want people to see my heart and judge me by my intentions. When they don't, it's a struggle for me. Through some really tough life lessons, I've come to realize that people will perceive me however they choose, and it's usually through their own lens of pain, hurt and experiences. Many people simply will not be able to see the truth about who I am, where my heart is and what my intentions are.

This is a struggle Jesus knows all too well. When Judas betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus responded to this ultimate betrayal of a death sentence by calling Judas "friend." (Matthew 26:50) When Jesus' disciples resorted to physical violence against the soldiers coming to arrest Jesus, "Then Jesus said to him, 'Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.' " (Matthew 26:55) Jesus went willingly with His accusers. He didn't demand for their respect. He didn't scream out, "But I'm Jesus Christ! The Son of God! You can't disrespect me like this." 

Time and time again in scripture, we Jesus being treated with disrespect. Never once did he demand for anyone to respect Him. Not once did he bow up to someone and get in their face because He wouldn't stand to be disrespected. Even in Matthew 26 when people spat in His face and struck Him, He didn't respond—He chose silence. He knew Who He was, and He knew that demanding respect would never earn it. 


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