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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"The Silent Treatment"

June 22, 2004

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A man finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word! Proverbs 15:23

Strange how communication barriers generate other barriers. You may have loved yesterday’s devotion which exposed the sin of nagging, especially if that problem belongs to your spouse. But don’t feel too smug because today God exposes as a serious sin “the silent treatment.”

A frustrated wife says, “He won’t say a word. I come to him with my hurts and disappointments. I need his support, but he clams up and refuses to answer me. He doesn’t care about me at all. He just buries his head in the newspaper.”

How devastating! Sometimes we nag because we want some reaction from our spouse. No answer. We beg and plead. No answer. We even try to compliment. No answer. The silent treatment often becomes a deliberate weapon to frustrate and repay the other person for verbal abuse. We may feel superior for holding our tongue, but often we stand guilty of lovelessness and thoughtlessness.

Proverbs states the positive value of speaking at the right time: “A man finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word!” Once again we come face to face with our need for forgiveness and our responsibility to forgive one another. Paul says it so well “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Yes, while Christ knew when to keep silent before His accusers, He also knew when to speak words of encouragement, caring, and forgiveness. His death on the cross and glorious resurrection makes us His own and frees us to “find joy in giving an apt reply.” The silent treatment no longer.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, open my mouth to sing Your praise and to speak the timely word of compassion and forgiveness, for Your sake. Amen.

(Devotions from "My Daily Devotion" by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988 CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one time emailing of this link to a friend. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit

Today's Bible Readings: Song 1-3    Acts 6

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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