17.9.16

Why Christians Are Afraid to Speak Up & How to Squash Those Fears

by Sally Matheny

Photo by Pixabay
Why are some Christians afraid to speak the truth of Jesus Christ when they are at school, at work, or even at church? 

I believe it boils down to three fears. Fear of rejection, fear of persecution, and fear of inadequacy. How do I know? A few of them have crept up on me, too.

Let’s consider our “what if” fears and talk about ways to squash them.






Fear of Rejection

You’ve heard these—maybe even said a few.

“What if kids stop talking to me, because I’m talking about Jesus?”

“I could be ostracized in the group.”

“If I talk about God, won’t people say I think I’m better than everyone else?”

We may see eyes roll, hear snide remarks, or feel as if we’re invisible. We may be denied access to the popular group at school. Overlooked for a job promotion.

Former friends now

keep

their

d i s t a n c e.

Rejection may lead to persecution.


Fear of Persecution

“The kids will make fun of me if they know I’m a Christian.”

“If I speak the whole Truth, they’ll say its hate speech.”

“No one will respect me. They’ll think I’m a fanatic. I might even lose my job.”

Persecution to most American Christians means being singled out, harassed, perhaps bullied.

Persecution to Pakistani, Asia Bibi, meant a beating for sharing her faith to Muslim women. Imprisoned for violating subsection C of Pakistan’s 295 blasphemy law - blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad, she was sentenced to death. The death sentence was not carried out, but she’s been imprisoned since 2009. Even though she is sick and misses her family, she will not renounce her faith.

Asia's story takes our perception of persecution to another level.



Are you afraid you'll not fit in
if you talk about Jesus?


Fear of Inadequacy

“I don’t know what to say.”

“What if I misquote the Bible?”

“What if my beliefs are wrong?”

Whoa. These are cases of dry mouth, mind, and heart!


What Can We Do?

No one wants to experience unpleasant responses when we talk about our faith. Yet, if we never venture to share the hope and joy of Christ, we’ll never know what could have been. We can’t begin to fathom the magnitude of God’s power.
The person you think will brutally refute your witness, may be the one whose heart is being drawn by God. Consider Ananias. He was apprehensive about speaking to one of the greatest persecutors of Christians. Ananias expressed his concerns to God, but when God still commanded him to go, he went. And look how that turned out! (Acts 9)

God doesn’t want anyone to perish. It is not possible for us to love strangers with the level of love God has, but we must try. The love we have inside of us for Christ must continue to grow so that it spills out onto others.

Just telling you not to be afraid may not be enough. My words may encourage you, but I don’t have the power to put the quietus on your fears.

In fact, when we obey God’s commands, in spite of our fears, we’re given opportunities to see the remarkable power of God.

God says in Isaiah 41:10,

 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

In our weakness, He is strong. We may never fully experience this miracle, if we don’t step out and speak up about our faith.

I’m sure you’ve heard how God just wants us to tell your stories. Tell others how God is working in our lives, how we trust Him to meet all our needs, and what joy and peace we have!

It’s true. Just tell your story.

However, there may come a time when you will be asked why you believe what you do. Or someone will inquire where in the Bible does it talk about a certain topic. If you are afraid you’ll misquote the Bible, then there’s only one thing you can do.

 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

Get into God’s Holy Word every day. Spiritual growth is extremely slow if you’re taking in a daily five-minute appetizer of scripture. Spend a good length of time, a half hour, preferably more, so you can get into the meat of the Word.

Not sure what you believe? Find someone who can mentor you through the scriptures. Make sure it is someone who believes God’s Word is infallible—all of it—from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. Pray and ask God for wisdom in understanding His Word and how to apply it to daily life.

We can’t share the Truth, if we know it not ourselves. We’re human. We’re going to make mistakes. Knowing that should make us cry out to God for understanding His Word. If you’re unsure of something in the Bible, don’t make stuff up, or twist it to fit your own ideas when presenting it to others. Simply say, “I’m not sure I fully understand this passage, but let’s see if we can find someone who does.”  

You may want to check into participating in a Bible study. They’re offered in churches, online, in books, and videos.

Through intentional and continual Bible study, prayer, and worship, you will grow in your relationship with Christ. When His peace and joy fill you up, it will drench your “what-if” fears into a puddle.

It's possible to flip around those what-ifs.

Die to self for the sake of one
“What if no one tells these people about the hope of Christ?”

“What if our freedoms continue to dwindle because Christians aren’t speaking up?”

“What if just one person finds peace and salvation because we shared what Christ means to us?”

Are we willing to die to self, and ask God to squash our fears, for the sake of one?

I hope so. Or else, I fear we will have many regrets.


If you enjoyed this post, you may also like reading "Christ's Resurrection: Deny It or Apply It"




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