Silence is… Deadly

I’m currently a little over halfway through this “slap Brian in the face” book called The Silence of Adam by Dr. Larry Crabb. The message is pounding me big time, and I’m not certain what to do about just yet.

“Men are called to move into darkness, to keep moving ahead with purpose and strength even when they cannot clearly see the path before them.” (The Silence of Adam, pg. 61)

Having been raised up in the church for as long as I can remember, it has always been commonplace to sort of joke around (and poke at women) about how sin entered the world. You see, it was “Eve” who spoke to the serpent, it was “Eve” who was deceived by the serpent, it was “Eve” who took the first bite out of the forbidden fruit, and it was “Eve” who enticed Adam to also take a bite – ie. sin’s entrance into the world was “Eve’s” fault! Right?

Well, what was Adam doing the whole time? I mean, scripture seems to imply that he was standing right there the whole time. I’ll tell you what Adam was doing… he was doing NOTHING! He stood there passively and allowed Eve to have this little discussion with the serpent – if your wife is talking with a snake don’t you think you should at least say something? He stood there silently as the serpent deceived Eve – he knew the truth of what God had told them, why didn’t he jump in at this point? He did not chime in when Eve took the fruit and was bringing it to her mouth – couldn’t he have said something like, “hey honey, shouldn’t we talk about this first?” And then he brainlessly took the fruit and bit into it himself.

“Adam’s silence was lethal. It brought the severing of relationship. And ultimately it brought death.” (pg. 98)

I’m being convicted about how often I remain silent, and I’m not sure what to do about it. How many times have I known that a friend was going to make a mistake and not called out warning lights? How many times do I retreat from a difficult challenge just because I’m uncertain of what the outcome will be? My finances have been a constant struggle since the failure of my first business, and when I feel overwhelmed and enslaved by them I ignore it and pray that my problems go away. And how many times have I not asked out a beautiful girl who I was attracted to under the guise of “not knowing if it was God’s Will or not?”

Like I already mentioned, I still have much of the book left to read, and while I’m still toiling with what this means for me I do know one thing for sure – if I really truly trusted God, I would not be silent, I would not be passive, I would not be still, I would not intentionally forget, I would not ignore. And if this is a challenge that essentially every man faces, how do I overcome? I have no clue how, but I will.

“Men who spend their lives finding God are quietly transformed from mere men into elders: godly men who know what it means to trust a person when there is no plan to follow: spiritual fathers who enter dark caves that their children run from; Christlike mentors who speak into that darkness with strength instead of control, with gentleness instead of destructive force, and with wisdom that cuts through the confusion to the beauty beyond.” (pg. 102)

10 thoughts

  1. I haven’t read the book (yet — as it’s now on my “To Read” list), but I can completely identify with what you were saying. All too often I sit back and let life happen to me, instead of taking action and attempting to set its course.

    Great post, keep em up!

  2. Nice man! I didn’t meet Susan until, like Peter, I stepped out of the boat in faith and trusted in God. I have my copy of the book but have been too lazy to pick it up. Shame on me!!

  3. Hey Man! Great testimony and ideas to think about. Yeah, this is a must read for everyone..even slacker Geoff..haha…jk…anyhow, I was reading earlier today about how people were and are created to be relational. That is so true. We are made for relationships and it is up to us guys to to relate clearly. In the book…I love this….he says “A man will either call forth light and beauty in the people he knows or he will destroy that same life and beauty.” Guys…HELLO…we are called out by God to be like this. To men of positive relationships that bring forth light and beauty not one who destroys it. Sometimes it is easier to not do either. God calls men to a higher calling. If we lead, people will follow.

  4. Brian.
    After you finish reading Crabb, take a look at this by Lambert Dolphin.

    “I suggest that what Dr. Crabb calls the Silence of Adam was really the Anguish of Adam.

    Had Adam intervened to protect his wife it would have been a violation of her free will. Adam did not own Eve–God is her owner. Adam, did dare not to “lord” it over his wife. Higher than Eve’s relationship to Adam is her relationship with God. Furthermore, Adam was still innocent until he ate the forbidden fruit–that is, he did nothing wrong by allowing Eve to sin! Even today, after our fall into total depravity, a husband should not lord it over his wife and order her around. We can advise a person or a wife, but can not force that individual by making their choices for them. (We do not know if Adam said anything to Eve as she was about to eat).” . . .

    “Crabb is really finding fault with Adam before Adam sinned. He is also implying that women are really second class citizens and can not really stand on their own before the Lord unless they have a male overlord. Headship does not mean boss, but gentle and loving persuasion.” . .

    Something to think about.

  5. I like to test out logic by attempting to apply it to different situations. Lambert Dolphin says “Adam was still innocent until he ate the forbidden fruit–that is, he did nothing wrong by allowing Eve to sin!”

    If I’m interpreting this correctly, he’s saying it’s not a sin to sit back and watch someone else commit a sin, even one that could potentially have huge repercussions?

    Hypothetical: Adam walks out into the fields and sees Cain preparing to kill Abel. If Adam stands by and does not attempt to intervene, does he not commit a sin?

  6. Nothing says we can’t try to talk someone out of doing something we believe is wrong. We would be remiss if we did not try. I think Lambert goes a bit to far afield, but I also see the point he is trying to make. At what point does it change from an attempt to enlighten, to change their mind, to forcing them to do something. From an exercise of our free will to an infringment of their free will.

    fine lines to walk there sometimes.

    Something I also have to be very aware of in my job, law enforcement. the law says that I may investigate someone that I reasonably believe has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.

    So, If I see Cain attacking Able in the field, no, actually, that is not a good analogy as there is possibly already a crime being committed there, Assault, battery, attempted murder, which under the law, gives me the authority to intervene.

    Good discussion topic, no clear cut easy answer, to many variables.

    go back to the analogy. Make it an all or nothing scenerio. The only way Adam can prevent Cain from killing Able, is for Adam to kill Cain. You prevent Cain from committing a sin, at the cost of your son’s life.

    That is actually a situtation I have put a lot of thought into over the years. If I have to, Can I kill to protect myself or someone else ? As best as I am able to determine ahead of time, the answer is yes. I teach my officers that this is something you have to have thought about and made your decision ahead of time, because when the time comes, you will not have time to think about it or it will be to late.

    I also tell them, there is no shame in deciding that you cannot, but there is no place in this agency for you either. You will need to find a different career path that will not put you in that situtation.

    What it comes down to is making up your own mind, based on what you believe is the right choice for you. That’s what free will really comes down to, making what you believe is the right choice for you. Not allowing anyone else to make it for you, not attempting to make it for anyone else. You get to make the choice, you get to live with the consequences, it’s your true right in this world. You get to accept responsibility for your decisions.

    Sorry, this is running on a bit long here. I’ll climb back down and turn the soap box over to someone else now. lol.

  7. Great stuff Chief. I think you’re right that my analogy probably wasn’t the best.

    I mostly agree with you about the free will aspect. I’m not sure I follow the part where you say “not attempting to make it for anyone else.”

    I imagine you don’t completely agree with this yourself, as you’re in law enforcement. You prevent criminals from executing their free will, which is to be malicious toward other people. (I commend and thank you for your service, btw.)

    I guess I’m not suggesting that Adam should have tackled Eve and wrestled the Apple from her hand, but I agree with Brian that he should have said something instead of being a complete bystander.

    From my perspective, I’m thinking about all the times I’ve seen a person commit a crime, treat someone else poorly, or make a decision that I knew wasn’t the best thing for them. I frequently do as Adam did instead of voicing my opinion, and I almost always regret that after the fact.

  8. That question then turns into, where does it end ? or does it ?

    John the Baptist type Preachers are uncomfortable people to be around. Just ask Herod.

    Or Fred Phelps.

    of course, “Context” helps. If you don’t know all the details, you could be trying to help, you could be sticking your foot in your mouth, or you could be making a situtation much worse.

    rather extreme, but I’ve seen this happen more then once, so this is a poor example, but an example of real life rather then just a paper analogy.

    Female mentions that she is having trouble at home. Vague, not really detailed, you (generic you, not anyone in paticular) remember the phrases from the wedding vows, for better or worse, and in a good faith attempt to try to get her to do the “right thing”, you counsel her to try and “work things out”, to “stick it out”, to “stand by her man” and “make her marriage work”, “for the sake of the children” because they need a father.

    She, and her 2 children, wind up dead as he beats them all to death in a drunken, drug induced rage. It turns out that he has been beating her since shortly after they were married and she had been so terrified of him taking her children away from her that she would take the beatings rather then “commit the sin” of leaving her husband.

    who does the “sin” belong to now ?

    As for the other law enforcement comment. Actually, if they don’t exercise their free will to commit a crime, then I have no reason to have any contact with them. They make the choice, they perform some action. I am not stopping their exercise of free will, they have already done that. I represent the consequences of their choice. They had the choice, the free will, to not commit a crime. They chose to. They then get to live with the consequences of their choice. The decision to do the act is not the act. But it is their act and not their thoughts, that draw my official attention.

    We have free will. We have our own thoughts, but when we act on those, is when we live with what we do.

    Yes, I do prevent people from doing things at times. But I don’t try to prevent people from committing “sin”, I restrict their liberty after having caught them already having done something.

    You have the free will to hammer down on the expressway and pass that trooper while doing 98. You know what will happen if you do. By that trooper being there, has he prevented you from exercising your free will ? Or has he simply reminded you of the consequences if you do ?

    one more analogy then I’m done for the night.

    That trooper never said a word to you. His example and the example of the other drivers spoke louder then any words ever could.

    for me, Actions speak louder and more clearly then words. Walk the Walk, cause Talk is cheap.

    and with that, I’m done for tonight cause for some reason, they like to hold mornings much to early to suit me.

  9. I think all of you have great points and yes, I commend you chief for doing what you do. I do, however, think that Men are called to be protectors and provide wisdom when there is no wisdom in this case. Yes, eve had the choice, your right, but Adam made a bad choice in not being the MAN and protecting her for one, but also KNOWING what God wanted and not doing it.

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