By Lori Stanley Roeleveld, from her blog, Deeper with Jesus in Rhode Island.
I’d been writing letters to the editor about some local topic
trying to express the biblical view
and receiving a lot of negative response
from angry people
opposing my perspective, and even my right to express it.
It was clear I was not going to change their minds
so, I almost shut up.
I’ve heard from others this week facing that same temptation.
Saying how they “used to comment” or they “used to speak out” but
now, in the face of clear evidence that they’re not persuading
the others involved in public dialog,
combined with the position in which they find themselves the victims
of other speakers’ rage
they remain silent.
I get that.
And there is a time to be silent.
And there is wisdom in refusing to cast one’s pearls before swine.
But there is also this:
God is not offering some of us the option to shut up.
Some of us, perhaps you,
are called to voice His truth in the marketplace
even if it looks as though no one is listening.
You know who you are.
You’ve shut up but it’s not sitting well with you.
You phrase comments and comebacks even knowing you won’t post them.
You still read the public discourse and wonder where the voice of God is, why it isn’t there,
and then you realize that silent voice is yours.
You speak and write but your audience seems painfully smaller, smaller still those who seem affected.
I’ll tell you why I chose not to shut up.
First, that’s not how I’m designed. It’s been clear since birth that God designed me to speak up and the closer I walk with Him, the freer I am to fully inhabit His idea of me.
Some of you are designed to speak up, too. When you release yourself to His design, you’ll experience tremendous freedom.
Second, I realized that in every public debate, there are at least three participants. The speakers, of course, on both sides of the issue, but also the silent listeners.
Even when I know that I won’t persuade my opponents, I keep speaking (writing) for those who silently listen and who may be persuaded still. If my voice was silent, they might not know there is another choice.
Third, I know there will come a day when we will all stand before Christ. Some who are being judged will be condemned.
When they appeal to Jesus that He did not make every effort to reach them, I want Him to be able to point to me and to all those other believers who spoke up, spoke out, and carried on and say,
“Here are those I sent. They were faithful even when you hardened your hearts. They kept speaking the truth even when you laughed, mocked, scorned, hated, raged, and rejected. Wherever you were, there was some one, some one voice who kept speaking the truth into the din, writing the light into the darkness, and representing me even when it was clear that no one was listening. I made every effort to reach you. They were my effort.”
Fourth, I know how hard it is to carry on alone.
I live in a state the Southern Baptist’s have declared an “unreached people group” because fewer than 1% of us attend an evangelical church. I know what it’s like to long for fellowship and not find it. I know what it’s like to be weary and wonder if anyone else is holding on.
I want to be there, like a water-bearer at the last leg of a marathon, holding out a cup of refreshment to any who are beginning to stagger, starting to fade, shaking in their knees, and failing in their confidence that they can finish the race.
I want my voice to be that cup of water for even one person so that when they drink my words, they find encouragement, strength, and a goad to carry on to the end.
Maybe you are that runner.
Don’t be silent unless the Holy Spirit calls you to silence.
Speak out as long as you have breath, words, ideas, inspiration drawn from the deep well of Jesus Christ.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and know that your voice reaches the throne of the Almighty God.
We walk in faith and that means that there are results we won’t see until that day we see Him face to face. Write. Speak. Preach. Pray. Knowing that day will come.
No matter what we see, no matter what comes against us, if He has given us a voice, we should submit it to His service and to the service of even those who try to drown it out.
This is not a time to shut up. This is a time to speak, even when they refuse to hear.