Each of us have causes that make us come alive, things that move us and make us eager and burdened with a word to share. God has given us passions, people, and things that we want to fight for. When the Spirit convicts our hearts and the words are on our tongues, our bodies just want to move and act, help and protect, love and embrace for Christ and His kingdom.
Who’s with me?
I distinctly remember one of the first times I felt this way. It was in Sunday school of all places, and the subject matter was a controversial one. There I was sitting in a classroom with my closest friends, people I truly loved, and yet I didn’t quite agree with what was being said. My heart began to race, and I remember starting to sweat. Should I say something? Should I just stay silent? Would my words be helpful? Am I just trying to pick a fight?
I started to pray. The conversation dealt with issues of faith and ethnicity, and as the only minority in the room, I felt that a bit more nuance and sensitivity could be breathed into the ideas being circulated. So I asked God for boldness, for courage, and for love. I took one big breath and raised my hand.
But almost as soon as I began to speak, a woman at my own table told me to be quiet. She waved her hand, rolled her eyes, and said something to the effect of “Don’t act like you know everything.” It was crushing, particularly because she was a friend, a woman who had regular meals in our home.
It’s a moment I will never forget. I had felt timid, yet emboldened; I was nervous, yet passionate. I love and respect my friends, but I also want them to hear my voice, to understand me as a brown-skinned East Indian woman and believer, and I felt that my words had been silenced.
That is the burden and the cost, at times, of being bold for Christ.
The Spirit moves within us to speak the truth boldly. Yet the minute our words are given wings and set free, the minute our actions are unveiled, we make ourselves vulnerable to the possibility of criticism and hostility. Our call to unashamedly speak the gospel is challenged by angry looks, chide remarks, and cold shoulders. Our attempts to break down walls, reconcile, unite, and serve are met with questions, insults, and rejection.
Perhaps it’s as simple as lovingly challenging a friend to walk away from sin, but in doing so, your friendship is called into question. Maybe you’re trying to set the necessary parameters and boundaries for your child to flourish, fully knowing the fight that will ensue. Some of you have felt and heard God’s call to speak boldly into current social and political issues, and you continue to do so despite the vitriol thrown back at you.
Everywhere we look today, people are angry. We live in an age of outrage. Sometimes it feels like everyone has a different opinion about everything, and no one wants to listen to anybody. We live in a time that is certainly polarized, defined by tribalism and amplified by new technology and online platforms.
This context makes our call as Christian women all the more challenging and difficult to speak the gospel and live it out in our everyday lives and spaces.
It’s quite possible that the more we preach Christ, the more we boldly proclaim His truth (Romans 1:16), the fewer friends we will have. Yet, this is exactly the life that Christ has called us to. Sister, you are called to live set apart, holy and on fire for the Lord. We must think, see, move, speak, and live out the gospel, and when we do, rejection, pain, hurt, betrayal, and loss will come. And we need to be okay with that.
We must let go of our need to please people, to want them to have nice opinions of us all the time, and to always be our friends. For what if our silence comes at the cost of the gospel? What if our passivity allows injustice to continue and sin to repeat? What if our stance for the truth is not the popular opinion but the right one nonetheless?
Yes, we must speak the truth in love. Yes, there are some battles that are not worth fighting. Yes, we must weigh our words carefully and truly think before speaking.
The aim of boldness is unity, not division. The aim of courage is love and reconciliation, not new hostilities.
So, let us not shy away from being bold for Christ, and may our boldness be coupled with love.
May we have thick skin and tender hearts.
God has given us a deep and radical purpose in this life. We are here to make Christ great and to advance His kingdom. Let us hold God’s love in one hand and His truth in the other, and may we show both boldly as we seek to share the gospel with those around us. The path is costly, but it is necessary. The cost is great, but the reward is even greater.
The aim of boldness is unity, not division. The aim of courage is love and reconciliation, not new hostilities. -@dr_reyes2: Click To Tweet