The silent treatment. Yep, we all know what that is. Have you ever been a victim of the silent treatment? Have you ever inflicted this punishment on someone you love? I bet we could all say yes to both at one time or another in our lives. In either case it isn’t pleasant; and further it is wrong.
Silent treatment is actually in the dictionary. The definition from Webster’s on line dictionary reads as follows. NOTE the Antonyms at the bottom.
Definition of SILENT TREATMENT: an act of completely ignoring a person or thing by resort to silence especially as a means of expressing contempt or disapproval
Examples of SILENT TREATMENT<ever since our run-in at the party she's been giving me the silent treatment>
First Known Use of SILENT TREATMENT 1947 (NOTE: I might beg to differ here…J…I mean humans are humans…and the devil has no new tricks up his sleeve…so, MERELY my opinion, but I bet it’s a been goin on a LOT longer!)
Related to SILENT TREATMENT
Antonyms: open arms
In fact, look at all the related and opposite words. It gives one a pretty clear picture. The silent treatment is bad; not healthy; not kind; not gentle. The Antonyms give us the real picture of the destruction that the silent treatment can and does inflict on a person by forcing us to imagine what it is like to live without those good things.
I invite you to Google “silent treatment” and read through the thoughts associated. I did just that this weekend and learned (as if we don’t already know) that the silent treatment is a form of abuse. It has devastating effects on a person. It causes physical pain, it causes depression, it causes a person to feel isolated and rejected. Even by the world’s standards it is something that is seen as a wrong way to behave towards someone. When you give someone you care for the silent treatment you are in effect saying “You aren’t worth my time”. It is a selfish act; meant to only protect self at the expense of someone else. In what universe is that ok?
The silent treatment is different than the cooling off period we all need from time to time. But, when that “cooling off period” drags on for more than a day it becomes a sinful and destructive act. In Ephesians 4:26-27 the inspired by God Paul wrote “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” I have heard the argument that this is not a literal phrase. That we should look at the basic principle. Let’s not even deal with the fact that those people who are looking to make it less REAL or less a responsibility for a person to get hold of themselves. Let’s look at the Godly perspective here…the principle of the thing. The first statement is clear…”in your anger do not sin.” This shows us that when we are angry (the precursor to giving someone the silent treatment) we are to behave using Godly principles…we all know the scriptures about treating your brother with love. Read I Corinthians 13 for one. If your behavior reflects the opposite of this you have your answer as to whether you are sinning against your brother or not.
The very next statement is “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”. WHY?...Because it will give the devil a foothold! EVEN if you are or have heard the argument that one day is not literal and we can be angry for more than a day…the principle is still there. If you are angry for long and you don’t resolve it the devil will have his much longed for foothold. Just what is the collateral damage to giving someone the silent treatment, for letting the devil have a foothold. Well, there are the devastations I mentioned above and further it is hurtful to a person’s core! What is the first way a person usually reacts when they are hurt that badly? What is one manifestation of hurt? ANGER…yep, more anger. The person inflicted with the punishment of the silent treatment from someone they love is first to FEEL hurt, rejected, ostracized, PUNISHED, and then, when it goes on this person can easily let that hurt be realized by ANGER! That is hurt turned outward! And, then, you are not only dealing with the original cause of the silent treatment, but time has gone by and you begin to get angry and then all sorts of offenses from the past can creep in and it can destroy people if it goes unresolved! WOW, after thinking about this would any of us want to let the sun go down on our anger and risk destruction of even more of a self, a relationship? Is your pride so important to you that you would risk this? And, for all those out there that say Paul is not talking about a literal day…hmmm…think back to when you were in a vulnerable state and someone you love shut you out of their lives for more than a day…How did that feel? Then, consider what the Godly Perspective is.
If you still hold to your stubborn stance that YOU have a right because you are still angry, or what is the use I’ve heard it all before, or WHATEVER your excuse is to continue the silent treatment punishment on someone you care for consider Matthew 7:2 “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure YOU use, it will be measured to you” And, if there is anyone who reads this that does not believe that you are judging a person by giving them the silent treatment (OR EVEN A NEAR SILENT TREATMENT…COME ON…YOU GET THE POINT)…(stay with me here…this next part may sound confusing) tell me what GODLY justification you can make for making someone feel as has been described if it isn’t sitting in judgment for something he/she did that you don’t agree with?
I have to admit, I could find NO humor in this subject at this time…I apologize that it sounds so harsh. It is a harsh subject. I hope and pray that we can find the Godly Perspective; the Godly Principle in this and most definitely resolve to find more Godly; non-destructive ways to find resolution to our differences. Matthew 18:35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless your forgive your brother from your heart”