We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Pressure Points: The Pressure of Retaliation {Sunday, March 22, 2015 }

By Hyacynth Worth

During those lonely days of adolescence, as I was growing into a new body with a big heart and tenderly thin skin, I realized the power of words after my good friend’s mom nearly spat some from her mouth, something that’s stuck with me for years:

“You are so bossy! Stop being so bossy, or no one will want to be your friend.”

To a kid who was exceptionally good at organizing ideas and events, but was still working on the intricacies of organizing people in relationship to ideas and events, her words were like a razor to my heart. It was the first time I could recall being so wounded by something someone said.

Shortly after that realization, I discovered a parallel revelation; while words could really cut deep the opposite of offensive words was just as dangerous of a weapon: silence. After those hurtful words were spoken, I retreated away from the relationship and stopped speaking with my friend for quite some time. I was so hurt by her mom’s words and her agreeing with her mom so fervently, that I simply stopped speaking to her.

If hurtful words can be a razor blade to the heart causing it to bleed out, silence in retaliation can be a sneaky paper bag that smothers our relationships into silent death.

To be clear, I’m not talking about holding our tongues so as to not say something we might regret; I’m talking about those intentional times when we choose to let the offender of hurtful words or actions suffer in the aftermath of our purposeful silence.

Though I was young, I learned a powerful lesson: I held great power in inflicting suffering through my silent retaliation.

I’d like to tell you when I left childhood that I also left behind my way of retaliation. My husband is so gracious with me that he’d allow you to believe that and never call me out. But even as an adult, I’ve recognized I’ve sought retaliation after I’ve been hurt by remaining silent, within my marriage, friendships, relationships and even my relationship with myself and with God. Though my retaliation of silence is now much different than the whole, “I’m not talking to you,” feel it had in my childhood, it still is rooted in the pride: “I’m not letting you in. No matter what you say or do or how you apologize, you are not getting in here: no way; no shape; no how.”

3.23.15 blog Patient EnduranceWhat began as a reaction to hurt had become, as I grew older, a thought-out response, a response that leaves only loses and never wins.

Because as an adult, I’ve realized that in the silence of retaliation, it’s not just the other person who suffers; the one who inflicts the silence suffers in it as well.

The retaliation of silence as an adult looks most like quietly shutting down, denying the other person any insight into our pain, denying anyone the ability to come close to the deep hurt that’s been suffered, denying anyone the ability to come comfort us as we hurt. With our own conscious selves. With our closest relationships. Even with God.

There’s a song I’ve listened to probably a hundred times because it hits me so square in the hear that I’m drawn to it time and again. The chorus says,

“It’s a fight between my heart and mind
No one really wins this time
No one really wins this time
In the endless fight of grace and pride
I don’t want to win this time
I don’t want to win this time.” (Copeland)

With the silence of retaliation, no one really wins, and even as I internalize this truth more and more, I still often find a war going on inside of me after I’ve been hurt and wronged, a fight, it seems, between grace and pride.

I’m learning now that I can let grace win because I can trust in a God who promises to make to make all things right.

And to be quite honest, if grace doesn’t win out every time, no one really ever wins.

headshotHyacynth Worth is beloved to God, wife to John, mom to two boys and author of Undercover Mother. She also works as the Online Communications Coordinator for Immanuel Church.



Be Challenged:  This week, when you feel you’ve been wronged, remember this:

  • “When it comes to retaliation, our choice is not a difficult one to understand but it is a difficult one to obey. We have the ability through the Holy Spirit in you to choose patient endurance over retaliation.” -Pastor Joe Boerman


2 thoughts on “Extra Strength: Silent Retaliation

  1. Hyacinth, I have to tell you how your post hit me square between the eyes. I have used the retaliation of silence in my previous marriages, even to the extent of withholding intimacy to keep them out. You were right about it being an issue of control and pride. When I was discussing the sermon in my small group, I couldn’t think of any instance that I had used retaliation. Knowing that wasn’t true, I searched and searched for places in my life where I had used it as an adult. It wasn’t until I read your post tonight that I realized where my retaliation had been set. I am ashamed to say that both of my marriages failed in part because of my retaliation for the anger and resentment that I had toward those two men. I know that through Christ I am forgiven for my failures, and I’m continuing to strive to be a better person and to be more like Christ everyday.

    1. What courage and bravery it took for you to write this out and post it. Thank you for sharing, Jeanette. I pray that as God has revealed, He, too, will begin to heal. You are a new creation in Christ, yes! And everyday is an opportunity for all of us to grow to be more like Him. Encouragement to keep running the race from another runner. 🙂

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