You Have God’s Approval to Speak
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
And a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:7, ESV)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Theologian and Lutheran pastor, known for his opposition to nationalism—and as an anti-Nazi dissident, may be remembered most by his now famous quote when he said, “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Perhaps his words are still remembered today because they are still appropriate in so many ways. He may have been late in speaking out but he managed to do so before he died. Bonhoeffer was only thirty-nine when he died but his philosophy of speaking out courageously is still echoing today.
Silence before God may be golden but in the face of injustice and mistreatment of others and ourselves, silence might be considered cowardice. If the mark of the true believer is to hate what God hates—and God hates sin—then we cannot be silent in the face of what God is not silent about. Another counsel that never is outdated or grow old is that from the Apostle Paul when he wrote to Timothy reminding the young pastor—who must have been facing strong opposition in his ministry—that God had not given him a spirit (or nature) of timidity or fear but one of boldness and confidence. Not confidence in ourselves but that God is standing strong with us. If we want the bullies—spiritual or otherwise—to cease then we must speak up/out. Without resistance they continue to do what they do.
Are you challenged today to do as both Paul and Bonhoeffer believed so strongly? Is there something or someone that frightens or has bullied you so much you are fearful of speaking out up or out? Afraid that if you do then your own well-being may be in danger? God promises to stand with you. He will not leave you alone. He will not forsake you. Whether the injustice is against others, a people group, or even yourself God will supply you with courage to speak out/up. He will rally the heavenly troops to defend and stand with you. He will delight and sing over your newfound strength and courage and you will delight in your courage and confidence also.
Silence is only golden in the presence and before the throne of God, everywhere else, where there is sin or oppression, silence become the bars that keep us and others imprisoned.
Where is your voice most needed today?
Praying Ecclesiastes 3:7
Lord, you made me in your image and so I have your nature. When I am living fearfully, easily intimidated, quiet when I should be speaking out/up give me insight into myself, help me identify my fear(s) and reasons for not speaking and grant me courage. Amen