Monday, 7 April 2014

Finding Your Voice

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ” (1 Peter 3:15-16).

As my professor stood at the front of the class he posed a question that struck deeper than he may have realized.

“If you are given a voice, will you have anything to say?”

He was discussing the history of psychology and how it is important that as Christians we engage deeply in the discipline, bringing forth a Christian perspective with excellence. It seems that this idea of faith in psychology was left to the wayside as the desire for scientific facts grew.

And yet, as Chrsitians studying psychology, if we were given the opportunity, would we really have anything to say about our faith?

I think this question can stretch beyond the realm of psychology. I believe it can stretch into every area of the lives that we live. Have we compartmentalized our Christianity to such an extent that we have neglected to even contemplate what we would say when asked?

Perhaps we are affected by the values and culture surrounding us more than we realize. Perhaps we do this in a way that we begin to closet our Christianity, close off our values, and politely back away from our beliefs.

The calling to be able to give an answer, have a voice, and be challenged to have something to say is very real. It is important to consider that if (or should I say when) we are given a voice, do we actually have anything to say?

Now, in many ways in our current society we can demand a voice. There is social media, the ability to comment on anything we see, and 140 characters that can explain our mood at any given time. We can come in with fire blazing words that are heavy with hypocritical judgment. We can sit behind the safety of our computer and share every opinion we have. We have outlets and places where we can demand a voice.

And yet, the Bible tells us to worship Christ with our lives. Perhaps in many ways, our voices will be the loudest when we are silent, when we let our actions of love, grace, and servanthood shout louder than our thoughts and opinions. This lifestyle is the foremost way that we find our voice.

But it does not stop with our actions. Perhaps for some of us we would prefer this. For some of us we would rather just do good than tell people Who has asked us to do the good. But lots of people do good. And perhaps one day someone will ask you why you do what you do.

And this is where we need to find our voice. This is where we need to be able to give an answer. Not with judgment or expectations, not with condemnation or force, but with humility and clarity. With love and compassion. With truth seeping from its roots.

“But do this in a gentle and respectful way...” (v. 16). This is a command that we too often ignore and the cost of such ignorance can be great. The lack of gentleness and respect in the many voices surrounding us, specifically Christian voices, is unhelpful and hypocritical. No one wants to feel belittled by you or have something shoved at him or her. Perhaps this is done too often, and it is not what we are actually called to do.

We do not simply live the way we do to be kind or helpful. It is because of He who lives in us. And this truth should encompass every action we take, every word we speak, and every area of life that we walk into.

And so, I encourage you to find your voice when you are asked and to live a life that exudes the truth. Perhaps as Christians we are too keen to leave our faith in the closet, to politely engage in society outside of our beliefs, to compartmentalize our faith.

If you are given a voice, will you have anything to say?

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