I hear an awful lot about women these days: speak up, be heard, don’t be afraid to stand out, voice your opinion, honor your truth. At the risk of losing all of my political correctness I need to point out that every person ever born has felt oppressed, repressed and suppressed at some point-not just the ladies. In Christianity we find not only answers to the causes of our inhibitions but solutions in the example of Christ Himself.
I had lunch the other day with an amazing brother. At one point I asked him if there was something about my work that was a concern to him. He replied, “Wow, you barely know me. I’d think it would take years for you to feel the kind of trust that it would take to receive any criticism from me. I wouldn’t dare dream to impose my opinions on anyone before that trust was established.” Sweet guy, huh? Very rare in today’s Christianity to have someone refrain from speaking. About anything.
I told him that I was kinda the opposite, that I felt that I had maybe one shot with some of the people I met with so I needed to say as much as possible. Of course, my situation is that of counselor, with people asking my perceptions. And hopefully my responses aren’t merely knee-jerk reactions based on feelings but actually Lord-led.
I challenged this man that maybe some fear might be mixed in with his obvious humility. Fear can be quite the culprit is screwing up communication. Oft times what we are saying is fear-based and therefore hurtful and destructive. Too often fear is the reason we don’t speak and we need to look at Christ for that. Jesus, as represented in the Gospels, always had something to say about human behavior in light of the true and living God. There certainly are no accounts of Jesus being afraid.
Remember, Jesus let go of all his God-attributes except sinlessness upon becoming a baby. He had to grow into His understanding of who He was, his gifting and his confidence. His obvious lack of fear was directly linked to His lack of sin. What did Jesus have to be afraid of? Without sin there could be no death. (Remember, He gave His life willingly-no one took it from Him).
It is our sin and the sins of others that either causes us to speak “truth” that serves no godly purpose or prevents us from speaking at all. In instances of that tongue-tied, paralyzing fear we need to remove ourselves for the situation long enough to examine the possibility that our sin and the fear of consequence and death that they carry could be the cause of our panic.
Jesus had no sin in Him therefore He was not afraid to speak. No sin would flow from His lips and no death could harm Him. Why are you afraid to speak? Are you just spreading pain and shame through your words? Or has God given you mercy, deliverance, justice, hope and love to share but you’re afraid of the ramifications of obedience?
You may ask, “What about merely speaking “our” truth, Paisley?” Again, consider James’ exhortation to tame the tongue. Is speaking your truth just to make you feel better, prove your rightness or to pain and shame someone that Christ died for? Or is your truth testimony to the glorious love and patience of our Lord and Savior?
If it’s the former, kindly shut up for once. We’ve enough voices of condemnation in our lives reminding us what screw-ups we are. If it’s the latter, please, I implore you to remember God’s call on all of our lives to (and I paraphrase, of course) SAVE ONE MORE FOR JESUS!