By Pastor Richard Wurmbrand
LEARN TO BE SILENT
In the Underground Church, silence is one of the first rules. Every superfluous word you speak can put somebody in prison. A friend of mine, a great Christian composer, went to prison because Christians had the habit of saying, “How beautiful is this song composed by Brother _____.” They praised him, and for this he got fifteen years of prison. Sing the song, but do not mention the name of the one who has written it.
You cannot learn to be silent the very moment the country is taken over. You have to learn to be silent from the moment of your conversion.
The secretary to Solzhenitsyn was put under such pressure by the Communists (and she had been denounced by Solzhenitsyn’s wife) that she finished by hanging herself. If Solzhenitsyn had kept silent, this would not have happened.
Another question which is very important: I thank God for the years which I passed in Solitary confinement. I was, for three years, thirty feet beneath the earth. I never heard a word. I never spoke a word. There were no books. The outward voices ceased. The guards had felt soled shoes; you did not hear their approach. Then, with time, the inner voices ceased.
We were drugged, we were beaten. I forgot my whole theology. I forgot the whole Bible. One day I observed that I had forgotten the “Our Father.” I could not say it any more. I knew that it began with “Our Father…,” but I did not know the continuation. I just kept happy and said, “Our Father, I have forgotten the prayer, but you surely know it by heart. You hear it so many thousand times a day, so you assign an angel to say it for me, and I will just keep quiet.” For a time my prayers were, “Jesus, I love You.” And then after a little time again, “Jesus, I love You. Jesus, I love You.” Then it became too difficult even to say this because we were doped with drugs which would destroy our minds. We were very hungry. We had one slice of bread a week. There were the beatings, and the tortures, and the lack of light, and other things. It became impossible to concentrate my mind to even say so much as, “Jesus, I love You.” I abandoned it because I knew that it was necessary. The highest form of prayer which I know is the quiet beating of a heart which loves Him. Jesus should just hear “tick-a-tock, tick-a-tock”, and He would know that every heartbeat is for Him.
When I came out from solitary confinement and was with other prisoners and heard them speaking, I wondered why they spoke! So much of our speech is useless. Today men become acquainted with each other and one will say, “How do you do?” and the other answers, “How do you do?” What is the use of this? Then one will say, “Don’t you think that the weather is fine?” and the other think, and say, “Yes, I think it is fine.” Why do we have to speak on whether the weather is fine? We do not take earnestly the word of Jesus Who says that men will be judged not for every bad word, but for every useless one. So it is written in the Bible.
Useless talking in some countries means prison and death for your brother. A word of praise about your brother, if it is not necessary, may mean catastrophe. For example, somebody comes to visit you and you say, “Oh! I’m sorry you were not here before – brother W. has just left.” The visitor could be an informer of the secret police. Now she will know that brother W. is in town! Keep your mouth shut. Learn to do it now.