Confidence can be quiet

Sometimes people are just loud. They’re loud about what they think is right, what they think is wrong, and how everyone should agree with them because they know what they’re talking about. But when you’re around someone who’s spouting off like that, do you really think they’re just overly confident? Or is there something else at work deep below what you can see?

There’s loud and then there’s compensating. I know loud people, and they can be the most confident, most exciting, most encouraging people in the world. They just get excited, and when they’re excited, they’re loud.

But people who are compensating are loud and hard to listen to. People who are insecure say things that are designed to hurt, worded just right to hurt, and dotted with enough hurtful words to tear others down just enough to give them a boost in their own sense of self-worth.

3584C14F39Today’s verses are 1 Samuel 13:10-14.

Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?” Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.”

“How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

Saul was the first king of Israel, chosen when the people decided they wanted to be like everybody else and have a king people could see. And boy did they get a winner. Yes, that was facetious.

Maybe he started out strong, but Saul had a little problem with insecurity. Okay, it was a big problem, and it only got bigger as he got older. If you read his life (1 Samuel 8 through 31), you’ll see the same pattern over and over again, the same mistakes, the same flaws, the same foolish decisions.

Every decision Saul made was to cover his tracks, to make himself look better, or to point out the flaws of someone else. Like today’s verses. Saul knew he was supposed to wait for Samuel. Maybe it doesn’t sound right to our 21st Century American ears, but that’s how it worked in Israel back then. And Saul knew that, but he let his insecurity get the better of him, and he broke the rules. And then, instead of admitting that what he’d done was wrong, he blamed others. He got loud about it.

Saul was a loud king because he was an insecure king. And the same truth is still true today. The loud people, the ones who rely on noise and chaos to make a point, are insecure. You’ve heard that it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for, and that’s true.

That’s a big difference between confidence and insecurity. Like meekness is controlled strength, confidence is calm control. If you’re confident, you don’t need to talk trash. You don’t need to shout at people. You don’t need to pitch a fit or throw a tantrum. You’re confident, so you can be quiet.

And let’s face it, a confident person is much more impressive than a loud, blustering one.

How do you get confidence then? Well, that comes back to where your confidence is rooted. If the source of your confidence is your own abilities and knowledge, I’d suggest looking for someplace else to put down roots. No, God provides the ultimate source of confidence and the more we dig into Him and get to know Him better, the more confidence we’ll have.

So the next time you run into someone who’s screaming about something or someone who’s angry all the time or you just run across a loud person who likes to bother people, keep this in mind. Maybe they’re just being loud and blustery to hide the fact that they’re really scared. Maybe they hate the way they look. Maybe they doubt their own abilities. Maybe they are just afraid.

Give them a chance, maybe even the benefit of the doubt. They might just be acting like a blowhard to try to prove that they know what they’re doing. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they do. But when you interact with them, be kind and humble. You can be confident and still kind, and confidence isn’t another word for arrogance.

Love them regardless.