Christy first penned this blog in response to the recent Women's Marches around the world. Since that time, other marches and protests have taken place - from the March for Life to this week's pro-immigration protests. Christy's conclusions apply in the midst of all this, as believers weigh when - and how - to add our voices.
Oh, what a time it is to be a female follower of Jesus.
Two weekends ago thousands of women took to the streets to protest the coming of a new presidency. Protesters began with a march for women’s rights, but the scope quickly changed to encompass a number of other things. Racism, transgender rights, gay marriage, abortion, the pay gap, and immigration all made the news as women (and men) held signs in protest of our new president’s policies on each.
If we’re honest, it was a complicated march. We can’t pinpoint the reason each woman was there. And in the weeks since, we’ve only seen more complexity added to each issue as our fellow countrymen and women react to our new President.
I feel like my head is in a spin. It’s a full-time job keeping up with America these days, and as I try to decipher the truth versus the lies of what is going on around us, I’m finding that as a woman in the church I’ve become a bit paralyzed – and I’m afraid to add my voice.
Why Am I Stuck?
As topics like refugee care, health care, gay marriage, racial reconciliation, and abortion are all lumped under the giant heading of “human rights” and slapped on a polarizing sign held by a woman with genitalia on her shirt, what am I, a follower of Jesus, to do?
What do we do when the devastating is lumped in with the divine, and we’re asked to pick sides?
Do I fall in line with the woman marching for the areas I’d agree? Do I advocate alongside her for those without health care and lobby for refugees to find a safe haven? Do I pick up my sign and march for a fair criminal justice system and press politicians to reform the education system?
Or do I stand across the street and offer a counter-protest over the areas of marriage and abortion? Do we take offense at her provocative signs and ignore the parts of her message we might dare to agree with?
Neither seems right. There I am, stuck. So I put my head down and just keep doing what I was doing before anyone was protesting. Although I am a woman, it feels like there’s no winning if I voice my opinion. I’m either labeled with preconceived notions or I’m silent. I’m stuck.
But Am I Really Stuck?
Our times may be confusing, but our God is not (II Cor. 4:1-16).
I can’t help but wonder if this confusing paralysis is an act of the enemy. We are told he prowls around like a roaring lion, and that we are to be on guard, sober-minded and watchful (I Pet. 5:8).
What does the enemy have to gain if he keeps us paralyzed?
- First, biblical truth will not be shared with a broken and hurting culture. Or if it is, it’s done by people that maybe don’t know the same winsome, compassionate Jesus we do, and have just adopted our morals to win our vote.
- There is no such thing as true social justice without the love of a God who created mankind in His image. And in our paralyzed silence, the world doesn’t get to meet the Jesus behind it all - and ends up settling for a watered down version of “human rights."
- The woman with the provocative sign subtly becomes our enemy. We become so distracted by the sign she’s holding that we miss the woman holding it. And we miss recognizing the people we’re called to love – the woman holding a sign, the crowds that disagree with us, the people affected by whatever cause we’re most concerned with today.
Finding My Voice
So what is the opposite of the silent paralysis that our real enemy is trying to keep us in?
Finding our voice.
When we find our God-given voice, we can speak truth into our culture and love the woman with whom we disagree. How?
1. We decide to please the Lord, not our distant friend on social media (Gal. 1:10).
Rather than seeing the opportunity to reach hundreds who are open to truth and wondering what the church might say, we focus on the one social media “friend” we know will be mad. So we stop, forgetting that she, too, is a human. And we know a God that is bigger than the fear of man.
2. We remind ourselves that the world’s definition of “love” does not make sense.
Love is not telling people to do whatever they want, no matter the consequence. It is not loving for me to stand idly by, cheering, as my friends are hit by trains simply because they enjoy sitting on train tracks. It is loving for me to plead with them to find another area to enjoy their sitting, and to speak up about the truth of the train barreling towards them.
I have good news. We serve a GOOD God. He has given us ample information about these destructive trains, where they come from, and how to avoid them. And he made the ultimate sacrifice of jumping in front of them for us. Any truth He’s asking us to share is rooted in His love.
When the world tells you your love looks like hate, remind yourself that they have been lied to heavily about the dangers of sitting on train tracks.
3. We remember to love.
When we are no longer seeking anothers’ approval, or afraid of what they might think of us, we’re suddenly free to love as we are called to. We can love that woman holding the sign, protesting, like the woman made in God’s image that she is.
We refuse to refer to her as “them,” and we love her like we’d love anyone.
4. We start to speak.
It might get messy. People probably won’t agree. We might even get ridiculed a bit. But we must still share the truths of Scripture – and do the hard work of clarifying where we agree with public opinion and where we do not.
With kindness, gentleness, and respect we can voice our biblical view (Eph. 4:29). And when people lash back at us, not only do we respond with compassion and grace, we remind ourselves that love never fails (I Cor. 13:13).
So what’s the point?
Your biblical worldview matters. Say something about it.
Don’t let the confusion, the calamity, the loud noises keep you quiet. Do the hard work of clarifying your beliefs when the world is trying to box you in. Do the hard work of loving the woman the world is trying to turn into your enemy.
Your creator gave you a voice. Use it.
Get involved! You can start serving your community at watermark.org/impact.
Photo Credit: Johnny Silvercloud Flickr via Compfightcc