Awkward silences provide great times to transition from one topic to another, that is if you’re not laughing too hard. Even then, some of my favorite times had an awkward few seconds of people looking around in that almost panicked state wondering, “Did that really just happen?” Even better are the instances when someone actually turns and tries to run from the situation because it’s that bad, or because they’re astoundingly dramatic. I run sometimes. I might be yelling “save yourselves!” if it’s bad enough, but that’s not incredibly often.
I have a friend/co-worker/student, (it’s a complex relationship) who says that every time there’s an awkward silence, a turtle dies. She throws this out in those lovely instances where it’s not a good awkward, but rather, a bad one. It lightens the mood, and people can talk again after a statement like that. I’m pretty sure that I’m responsible for the entire downfall of several shell-backed reptilian species because of the things that I say. Is it bad that I’m proud of this? Probably not. I’m too irreverent of people, and I’m depending on God’s good humor as well as His grace. I just make too much fun of…Everything. It might be an outlet for my criticality, or it might be a lot of immaturity. That said, here’s what scares me.
In Leviticus 10, we see Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons headed into worship. They grabbed fire from some random place, one that had not been authorized by God for that particular purpose, and lit their incense for worship. Well, God didn’t like that, so He swallowed them up with fire! Both of them, DEAD. They weren’t careful, they were irreverent, and they died horrible deaths because of it. Here’s what’s interesting about this whole thing, after God speaks about the situation, explaining himself, verse four ends with, “Aaron remained silent”. How’s that for an awkward silence?
After reading something like that, I feel compelled to be more careful about how I deal with God and people, and I avoid fire at church at all costs. (I don’t have a fiery pulpit yet, but when I do someday, perhaps I’ll be the one experiencing the fear of the Lord!) Anyways, I’m working on my reverence for God and respect for people right now. I’m praying that I’d develop a healthy fear of my God, and that I’d learn to shut my mouth a little more often, because if I truly do become one of those awesome pinky-ring sporting televangelists with a wife with big hair and I make some bad joke, I’ll have to make a public apology, which isn’t incredibly fun. That or else God might just have to take me out for my own sake, perhaps His as well.