This past year has been so full of noise. So many voices approving this point of view – attacking that point of view. If the voices had only been speaking of ideas, beliefs, policies, it might have been a good year of honest open debate. Sadly, I have found there was little true debate. It seems we all went into our own corners and listened only to those we agreed with.
The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply….Stephen R. Covey
Everyone has a right to be heard, but only if they are willing to listen to others in an attempt to understand….Eric Overby
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen….Winston Churchill
Know these my beloved brethren, let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger….James 1:19
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion….Proverbs 18:2
To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people….Titus 3:2
I have been guilty myself of giving my opinion whether wanted or not, adding my own thoughts to all the posts and articles out there. In my devotion today I really felt convicted in my spirit as the Lord reminded me that my primary focus should be on Him and not the craziness around me.
I know many Christians are afraid of the new administration and what that might mean to the Christian freedoms. But looking at the Early Church I want to follow their example.
In Acts 5 we see where the apostles were put in prison for sharing the gospel and then warned not to do it again. Their response:
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
Note that they did not argue with the Sanhedrin, they did not complain or start a political movement. They praised God they were worthy of suffering for the cause of Christ and kept on proclaiming the good news about Jesus.
Earlier in Acts 4 after being imprisoned and then released the apostles met with the church and told them of the threats they had received. If that happened today – if my pastor was arrested and told not to speak any more about the Gospel – I imagine the prayer meeting that would follow would be for a cry for protection – for justice – for our rights to speak. However that was not where their focus was. Rather they prayed:
Sovereign Lord, you made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them….Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. THEY DID WHAT YOUR POWER AND WILL HAD DECIDED BEFOREHAND SHOULD HAPPEN. Now Lord consider their threats and ENABLE YOUR SERVANTS TO SPEAK YOUR WORD WITH GREAT BOLDNESS. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I know there are times when injustice requires us to speak out. I could also post that famous quote “Bad things happen when good men do nothing.” But to me today I have decided to leave all the discussions and comments to others. Going forward in 2021, this song I have attached is my prayer.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight O Lord!