As writers, we may be called upon to write hard words, to step into the role of a prophet – one who has to proclaim uncomfortable truth, regardless of opposition. Prophets make people squirm. But prophets are essential. When something needs to change, the Lord has always used the voice of one crying out.
Christian voices speaking truth are addressing many matters:
- continuing racial division in the church
- sexual abuse of children by the clergy
- sexual harassment or abuse of women by male church staff
- damage done to the church by political affiliations
- social barriers that keep people out of our churches, rather than welcoming them in to hear the gospel of God’s grace
All of these issues, and many others besides, cause the church to appear to be something that it should not be, rather than a holy gathering of people who love, trust, and follow Jesus.
Unfortunately, until Christ returns, the church will always be imperfect. It’s comprised of sinful people who are in the process of growth, for none of us reach perfection this side of glory. Just read the New Testament. Almost every church mentioned has an issue.
So, how does the church deal with this wisely? The world is watching.
Ideally, we all listen to one another. We all repent. We all ask forgiveness for our wrongdoing. We all forgive. We all go forward seeking growth in Christ. Harmony returns. And then when the next crisis occurs, we all go through the process again.
But often this isn’t the case. Instead, we all do nothing.
We grow comfortable with the status quo. Slowly we morph into our broken society, becoming more like the world than like Christ. Therefore, prophetic voices are needed, calling for repentance and change.
Most writers don’t want this assignment. We don’t want to make people uncomfortable. But when the Lord gives us the task of writing a hard truth, we must rise to the occasion and follow in the steps of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist.
We make certain of our calling.
We pray for God’s wisdom.
We repent of our own hypocrisy in the area of question.
We seek the Lord, asking him to purify our hearts.
We immerse ourselves in his Word.
We listen as he speaks there.
And we edit the dickens out of those posts.
I agonize over these posts more than any other, spending many days revising and revising again, seeking exactly the right tone:
Firm, yet loving. To the point, yet humble. Truthful, yet kind.
I imagine the backlash. I prepare myself beforehand for the arguments. I question yet again if this is what the Lord wants said at this time and in this way. Yet, I also rest in the fact that eventually, one day, these truths will be revealed as right.
I pray. I sit in silence.
If you’re called to step into a prophet’s shoes, I encourage you not to be afraid. Write what God has given you. As you do, keep these things in mind:
You’re not the only one saying/writing this. When God moves, his Spirit moves broadly. Others are already thinking, speaking, and writing the same things. In fact, this is yet another confirmation. You are not alone.
The outcome of your words is entirely dependent upon the will of the Lord, the purpose he has, and the response of the hearers. We can build our argument, but will their ears hear it? Maybe yes. Maybe no. That’s up to the Holy Spirit and the softness or hardness of the hearers’ hearts.
God will use your words with the audience he intends. You may never know whose heart was touched or how the situation was changed. You may not know who the other voices of truth are. But God does. That’s all that matters.
The Lord will uphold you, no matter the outcome. He is with you. Do not be afraid.