August 19, 2010

Speak Up!

I wanted to say something, but I was paralyzed. It was like I could open my mouth, but nothing would come out. He had not only gone to the back of the store to get my newly tailored suit, he had steamed it to make sure it was ready to go. As this helpful young man approached me, with a smile on his face that revealed he was very aware that he had gone above and beyond the call of duty, I froze. I was speechless! (I know, right?) There it was. Like the full moon over the Atlantic on a crisp, clear night - screaming, "LOOK AT ME!" Right there, standing at the entrance to the cave that leads to nowhere. Adorning his face like Rudolph's bright red nose. It was a booger! Not any booger. It was the size of a marble. A marble countertop! And it was hanging on for dear life. And like a deer in headlights...I just stared in amazement. Or maybe horror is the right word. And at this juncture - where I could have turned this young man's day around with one kind word of exhortation - I failed him. I kept my mouth shut. After all, I didn't want to embarrass him. Right?

At some point during almost every day of our lives we leave people exposed, standing on life's stage with their fly down, booger hanging out their nose, pepper stuck in their teeth, grinning from ear-to-ear. We freeze. We're mortified, yet we can't turn our eyes away. For some inexcusable reason beyond decency's comprehension...we just sit there. And while we won't admit it, we're just thankful that we're not the moron with the lettuce stuck in his upper-left bicuspid. What's with this deficiency in our character? Is it some all-encompassing human problem? Is it just the symptom of a bigger issue? Or the byproduct of our upbringing or worldview? I'm not sure, but I think the answer is "Yes"!

In Ephesians 4 (and elsewhere) Paul talks repeatedly about "speaking the truth in love" to one another. Making sure I don't take this out of context (or you take me out of context) it's important to note that most of what Paul is exhorting us to speak about - this "truth" that he's reminding us to declare - is the Gospel. He's making sure we don't forget our calling to actually verbalize the truth that the keys to abundant and eternal life are found only in Jesus Christ and nowhere else. And in knowing and understanding that as a Christ-follower this is my charge and my calling, I'm not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg. It's the old "cart before the horse" argument. Is it the fact that many times we're unwilling to share our faith - to speak the Name of Jesus - and declare that we've been set free - that bleeds down into the other less important areas of our life and renders our mouth a useless, dull weapon? Or is it the fear and apathy that prohibits me from simply telling a decent young college kid trying to work his way through school, "Hey buddy. You may want to go to the restroom and check your nose." that sets the standard for everything else in my life? I'm not sure. But either way, I feel like the Lord's whisper is beginning to turn into a stern, audible warning. And He's saying from a heart filled with love...."SPEAK UP!"

Is there a conversation you need to have with someone you love?
Is there a simple word of encouragement or advice you need to hand someone?
Is your neighbor's heart being primed by God to hear you share your faith?
Is there a booger in that guy's nose?
Either way....SPEAK UP!

Are you hearing this? What do you think? 

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