One of the most frustrating responses to those on the receiving end is the silent treatment. It can make them feel powerless, invisible, insignificant, guilty, and worst, angry. It can provoke even the most patient person.
Psychologists say that it is a method of control, punishment, manipulation (in short, a form of emotional abuse) used by individuals as a weapon to get what they want and to inflict pain upon the object of their silence.
Silent treatment, then, is not only deafening, it is lethal.
If you’ve ever been the object of silent treatment, you know how devastating that feels, especially when you care a lot about that person ignoring you. Now, silent treatment can be retaliatory. I know of a lady who was so hurt by what her older brother did, she stopped talking to him.
The older brother tried hard to talk to her, ask for forgiveness, and make amends, but the offended one wouldn’t budge. Suddenly, the older brother died. At his funeral, his sister was inconsolable. If only she could turn back the time.
Do we sometimes feel like the spurned older brother when we talk to God and He does not answer?
Habakuk felt that way (1:2 NLT), “How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! ‘Violence is everywhere!’ I cry, but you do not come to save.”
The Psalmist moans (22:2), “Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.”
Job laments (30:20), “I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer. I stand before you, but you don’t even look.”
In reality, God wasn’t absent nor indifferent to Habakuk, David, or Job. He never left them, us, alone. It just felt that way—a warped perception when we are in the valley of tears.
He speaks to us at all hours in Scripture: through the beauty of His creation around, beneath and above us; with every breath we take, and each morning when we wake up to new grace.