Three Steps Before We Speak Out

The advent of social media has given every person a stage and microphone to voice themselves in front of a large audience.

This has given us the ability to speak out against racial prejudice and injustice. This is a good thing! The Old Testament prophets repeatedly voiced God’s charge to Israel to care for the marginalized and exercise justice. But what if that isn’t enough? Does Scripture call us to do more than just speak out on behalf of others?

>>> Speaking out is good, but that alone can’t be the solution to injustice in our world.

Perhaps, like me, you have felt frustration at what you can do to make a real difference in these issues. Apart from speaking out on social media, it felt like other action steps were too grand, too unattainable for me. I didn’t have the time or resources to launch a movement or start a charity, for example. But I have since come to realize that there are three biblical, effective, and attainable steps that I can apply to my own life to address these problems. I’d like to share them with you. 

Speak out
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One: I Can Pray to God for Healing

As it says in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” In the midst of a chaotic world, it is easy to forget that our first plan of action is always to turn our attention to the One who upholds the universe by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3).
This will help to calm our minds and anchor our souls in our unchanging God, so that we will be mentally centered to speak out. But first and foremost, we pray because God responds to the prayers of His people, and only God can ultimately accomplish the changes necessary to heal our land.

     >>> So it’s not just speaking out, but speaking up.

Two: I Can Examine My Heart

Maybe you have noticed how many claim that our culture has problems, but few admit that the problems begin with them. Sin has a way of blinding us, especially when we’re able to hide under our moral-sounding words. So before we speak out about injustice, we must lock arms with God and turn inward to see if any of these issues lie buried in ourselves.
This is at the core of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7:3: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” If we want to see change in our world, we must begin with ourselves. We invite God into this process because He knows us better than we know ourselves. He alone has the grace we need to forgive ourselves and experience transformation.

     >>> So it’s not just speaking out, but speaking in.

Three: I Can Comfort the Hurting

This is an important step before speaking out, because it is better to talk our walk than to walk our talk. Don’t throw yourself into a hypocrite’s corner with your message; let your message be grounded in your life. Boots on the ground, our calling as Christians is to care about the things God cares about. This includes those hurting from racial discrimination, sexual exploitation, or any issue that reduces their irrevocable dignity as an image bearer of God. This approach is deeply relational, and requires that we build relationships with people different from ourselves. 
Romans 12:15 encourages us to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” For instance, when George Floyd was killed, many felt a great deal of pain, both inside and outside of the black community. The pain of racism continues to be very real for many people. Are we checking in? Are we offering words of encouragement and providing comfort? Are we showing up as the hands and feet of Jesus?

     >>> So it’s not just speaking out, but speaking toward.

You and I Can Make a Difference!

In all this, we never want to lose sight that the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the proclamation of His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins—is at the center of everything we stand for. But since God repeatedly voices His concern for the weak, the hurting, the poor, and the marginalized, we see that this also must find its place in the lifeblood of every believer.

>>> Speak up, speak in, speak toward, speak out. In doing this, we take positive steps toward actual change in ourselves and the world.

Next Steps:

Matthew Tingblad is a communicator at Josh McDowell Ministry with a seminary education from Talbot School of Theology.

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