Have you ever been out to lunch with a friend and they get a little piece of arugula or something in their teeth… and you didn’t tell them? Or maybe you’re shopping with your sister and she asks if the pants she’s trying on are too tight… and even though they clearly are, you lie?
Or maybe it’s something much more serious.
Maybe someone you love is about to make a terrible mistake… and you don’t say a word. You want to, of course. You always want to. But when the moment comes, fear paralyzes you and the moment passes in silence.
Why do we have such a hard time speaking up?
Well, if you’re anything like me, it’s fear. Fear of damaging a relationship by speaking. Oddly enough, when I don’t speak up, it usually causes more damage in the end–the friend with the arugula or the pants or the mistake invariably asks me: Why didn’t you say something?
In many surveys that ask Americans what they fear the most, the #1 is not death… It’s public speaking. Yup, you read that right. In a Forbes.com article from Aug. 2015, contributor Nick Morgan adds, “Jerry Seinfeld even made a joke out of it, noting that if fear of public speaking was number one, and death was lower down the list, it meant that people would rather die than give the eulogy at the funeral.”
We are afraid to speak up – especially when it comes to our faith.
If we won’t point out arugula, we definitely we won’t point out Jesus.
After all, we know full well that we don’t talk about religion or politics with people we love because we don’t want to argue. We want to love each other and be nice… but if ‘nice’ is just a veneer, how is that love?
I wonder… how many of the people I truly love will get to the end of their lives and discover the joy and freedom and blessing of a relationship with Jesus Christ–and that they have missed out for all those years? I’m afraid they’ll ask me: Why didn’t you say something?
The Gospel is good news!
The term gospel, refers to what Jesus accomplished on the cross. But it’s a word that was taken from Roman culture in the time of Jesus. It referred to the good news of a military or political or personal victory. It was a declaration and a proclamation: victory has been secured. The gospel is the good news that Jesus has secured victory over sin and death.
It’s news… it requires words.
God wants you to speak with actual words – that He will give you.
In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit fills the apostles (e.g. all on Pentecost, Peter and John before the Sanhedrin, Stephen before the Sanhedrin) for the purpose of public speaking. This is the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise: “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:11).
Sometimes it feels like a teleprompter. Words that are clearly coming from somewhere else that I’m speaking at just the right moment. Other times it feels like an intuition–a feeling that I need to say something even at the risk of offending someone. But I have to get over my own insecurity and fear and trust in order to speak.
Jesus says, don’t worry, God will teach you the words to say. God wants you to share the good news of Jesus. He wants you to risk it. If you don’t risk it, He can’t give you the words.
He are 3 things to remember when speaking up:
#1 Don’t be a jerk
Ummm… yeah. Just don’t be. There are too many Christians who use their words (or worse, God’s Word) as a blunt instrument. It’s not about debate, it’s about truly loving someone. It’s not about getting your Christian agenda across, it’s about loving someone enough to share the greatest news in history because it will transform their life.
#2 Love is the door to truth
You have to love someone for them to hear the truth. Ephesians 4:15 reminds us that we are called to speak the truth in love. Again, it’s about your agenda–it’s about God’s desire to share His love with them.
#3 Be willing to risk discomfort, inconvenience, and fear
Love points out the arugula. Most of the time, if done right, people will thank you for it.
Let’s speak up and let the Holy Spirit speak into the lives of the people we love.
Question: What has helped you speak the good news into people’s lives effectively? You can leave a comment by clicking here.