5 Things that Happen When You Stop Explaining Yourself

“You have the right to remain silent,” came true for me in college. No, no. I wasn’t arrested (but ask me about the time I shadowed a cop). There was overwhelming pressure to explain and defend myself from misplaced blame, and in chapel at college one day, God started to teach me about silence. In that still, small voice, God asked me to let Him be my Justifier.

I know God is just, but did He really care enough to act on justice on my behalf? On petty things that can’t compare to what the world is going through? Well this:

My friends, do not try to punish others when they wrong you. Wait for God to punish them with his anger. It is written: “I am the One who punishes; I will pay people back,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19, ICB)

God does care enough, and all I have to do is shut up and try to live in peace with others. So I tried it and I waited for some good ol’ Old Testament smiting. The thunder and lightning never came, but I saw a little bit of how God acts in just and in grace, disciplines in love, and brings things around to completion. First in my life (ain’t that always the case), and then in others.

It’s not easy to step back and allow God to step in when I knew I didn’t do anything wrong, when I wrote down a speech and was ready to stand on my soapbox, when I wanted to be heard, when I wanted my accusers exposed, and most especially when God’s idea of justifying or avenging me wasn’t what I had in mind. There were days I literally looked in the mirror and said out loud, “Shut up. Just shut up and trust God. God is my Justifier.”

When I got better at shutting up and stepping back, I noticed some things. Here are 5 things that happen when you stop explaining yourself and allow God to be your Justifier.

1. You figure out who really needs an explanation. 
Most of the time, nobody does. Sometimes, it’s one or two people. It’s a matter of listening to the Lord. Like listening to your lawyer when you should talk and when to keep silent. God shows up with wisdom. The Holy Spirit leads and guides, and when you follow, peace follows.

2. You have more awkward moments.
Most people can’t handle silence. They want more than a nod, a shake of the head, or a shrug. They don’t like simple answers because conflict is never simple, and they want in on the drama. If you don’t offer more, there’s always an awkward pause as they wait. You might hear them wonder if they should press the issue. You might be tempted to open your mouth, but then, this awesome thing happens. Most people come to realize that it’s not their business, and they leave it be.

3. Real friends will show up. 
People will show their true colors. Some will be like Job’s friends, at your side, but condemning you and trying to figure out what you did wrong. Your real friends are the ones who know when to ask questions, and when to simply be there in silence with you. When to sit in it with you, and when to spur you onward. They are the ones who will give you space, and then return, going with the ebb and flow of how you are handling the issue.

4. The truth will come out at the right time. 
It will come out anyway, but when God’s working on your behalf, truth comes out at just the right moment because God is all about truth. God is Truth. He also has perfect timing. This is His justifying work. You’ll see what you thought was impossible happen in a way only God can orchestrate.

5. A weight will be lifted off your shoulders. 
It’s not just the weight of the issue. It’s also the pressure of having to explain or defend yourself against false testimony. Because when God is your Justifier, you can trust that He has your back.

When we ask for wisdom, God gives it (James 1:5). When you’re faced with false accusations, ask God for wisdom. Should you speak up? Should you keep silent? Don’t be afraid to speak up, but also, don’t be afraid to say nothing. Silence could be the best answer for the situation. Allow God to be your Justifier.

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