I’m not sure who this is for, but I felt compelled to write it this morning. Maybe you’ve been given an opportunity to speak, and it intimidates you. Perhaps you, like Moses, are questioning your ability to communicate the truth you feel responsible to relay. It could be that fear has just overtaken your heart when you know you need to speak up about a certain matter. Perhaps you are wondering if you are making the best use of the influence God has given you. If any of these things sound like you, read on.
I remember years ago, my brother Dave shared with me that he believes everyone has their own “congregation”. That is not to say everyone is a pastor. What he meant is that we all have our own peculiar circle of friends and acquaintances. And that is not to say your folks are peculiar. 😉 What I mean is, you have a group of people that is unique to you, and among whom you have a voice.
Sometimes people in that “congregation” are not interested in what you have to say. Sometimes they will debate with you. That’s not always bad. We should always consider the smallest snippet of criticism with care, to see if there is any truth in it. Sometimes perspective is lent to us by very unlikely sources.
On occasion, you may be passionate about what you want to share, and it falls upon deaf (or at the very least, disinterested) ears. I’m here to say that if you have felt compelled to speak, then there is at least one person who needs to hear. It may be you!
First, you need to listen to yourself with your Bible and your heart wide open…as your soul has a chat with the Holy Spirit about what is pressing on you. I’ve found sometimes what is weighing so heavily on me is a divinely-tailored message meant only for me. At least for that time.
After you have had your “vertical appointment”, it’s time to consider your message, your method, and your motive.
Is it biblically-based? Doctrinally solid? Not contrived by isolating verses out of context? Does the Bible speak to your ideas in various places? Have you studied and prayed about how to communicate it? Excellent. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel respected, or that your words don’t have authority or weight. You don’t have to be “somebody” to be used of the Lord. The authority of God’s truth is enough. When Moses hesitated, God told him He would help him say the words. Have courage.
Sometimes, regardless of how loving your words may be, your method might require some thought. There are times a word is meant to be shared personally and nothing else will do. There are other times you can convey things clearly in writing. Is what you are mulling over good material for a blog post, or a book? Is your message appropriate for an intimate conversation, or a roomful of people? Don’t gasp. God may one day call you to that. The days are very near when there will be very little truth being spoken, and you will be drawn out “for such a time as this”. Pray about how to deliver your words. Make sure, whatever method you use, that they are wise, fitly spoken, seasoned with salt, and full of grace.
Some may find offense in the truth; but your delivery (body language, tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions) should never be the cause.
Ephesians 4:15 has been my go-to passage when considering the “why” of what I want to say. Speak the truth. Only the truth. No spin. No twisting. Subtract the selfish motives, the desire to make your point, to prove yourself right (or to put someone in their place). Simply put, get out of the way and let the truth of God’s word speak for itself. If it’s His message, it will soon become clear that you are an instrument, a vessel for His use. Whatever your opportunity is, whether it is a visit on a front porch, speaking at a ladies conference, pouring yourself into a book, or sending a letter (if anyone does that anymore!)…make sure the words are His that you wish to speak. You can be mistaken. Your reasoning can be wrong. God’s truth needs to prevail.
Be mindful to speak those words in love…with an unselfish desire for the best in the lives of others. This means you will be willing to say hard things, but gently. If you need to, run your outline through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Are those words:
- without boasting and pride
- not motivated by envy
- not dishonoring
- not driven by anger
- not assuming the worst of others or gossipy
- given with a forgiving spirit, without holding onto past wrongs
- evidently filled with truth
- protecting the heart of the hearers…not injurious
- filled with future hope of what God will do as He works
After you have checked these things, you’ll know how to proceed.
Even after this careful examination has taken place, your words may still not be received. There may be many who reject them. Look through the New Testament and you will see that this happened over and over again not only with the disciples, but with Jesus Himself. Most may turn away from your message; but bear in mind that it may never be clearly evident to you, who may be listening.
Speak the truth as He would have you do it.