Ever been in a conversation when a hot topic has come up, and you have an opinion (maybe based on the Bible), and you know it won’t be popular, and you wonder – should I even share my opinion?
This happens to me all the time.
Whether it is social media or face to face conversations, when a hot topic comes up, I constantly wonder if I should be bold and speak up, or just ignore it and move on. I know that Jesus told His followers not to deny Him before others (Matt 10:33), and that we would stand before rulers and be given the right words to say (Matt 10:19). But I have too often seen Christians say TOO much, and be downright rude! Other times I feel like it is just not worth my time to get into an exhausting argument with someone who probably won’t change their mind anyway.
1 Peter 3:15 says we are to be ready to share, but to share with gentleness and respect. It can be hard to speak up and say what needs to be said with gentleness – often because others may not be very respectful to us or our views. There are times we need to be wise (Matt 10:16), and times we just need to be silent (Prov 17:28). But there are also times when we need to overcome our fear and speak out God’s truth.
This Sunday, I am starting a 3 week sermon series on Hot Topics. And yesterday I had a little pause of fear – what if people get mad about what I preach on? What if people leave? What if people don’t like my beard? (Ok, I am not really worried about that last one!) I reminded myself that my sermons are not about my opinions, but about God’s truth in His Word. If we build our lives on His foundation, we can withstand the storms of life; when we don’t obey His truth, our lives get hurt (Matt 7:24-27). I want to be about God’s love, truth, and hope in people’s everyday lives. I have to say something about these topics – even if they are controversial. Of course, I am praying that I can speak biblically, intelligently, and with gentleness and respect.
We had votes for the Hot Topics to preach on, and the top 3 were: LGBTQ Issues, Sex Outside of Marriage, and Horoscopes, Spirituality, and Mysticism. (The next 3 voted for were End Times and Rapture, Sex Inside of marriage, and Atheism and Agnosticism – if time allows I will write a bit on these in future blog posts.)
I am going to share God’s Word on these topics, and my hope is that we will all learn more about how to share God’s truth in love, with gentleness and respect – and willing to speak up and be bold at the right times. I know it can be hard to speak up – we don’t want to be “those” Christians who are rude! But we also need to share His truth that leads to true life. My hope is that we can keep learning how to speak His truth wisely in a world that often does not want to hear it. We need to speak: we can’t be upset at how the world is falling if we are unwilling to speak His truth and life.