The Time to Speak

A professor from a German university visited the Canela village briefly when Jo and I worked there as linguists, teachers and Bible translators. He studied the Canela belief system and, once, when we had coffee together, he mentioned the Canelas’ fear of ghosts and evil spirits. My response startled him.

“But there are no ghosts or spirits!” he said. I chuckled and said, “Remember, you are talking with a Bible translator, one who believes in God who is a Spirit.” He looked at me as if he had never seen me before.

“Jack,” he said, “You are the first educated person I have ever met who believes in God.” I was not surprised since I knew that secular humanism was the credo of many European countries, even back then, forty years ago.

Canada is rapidly catching up. People are capable of morality and self-fulfillment without belief in God. This is the core of secular humanism, and it this religion is spreading rapidly throughout North America. Lawmakers operate within this framework and courts decide cases that result in anti-Christian actions.

A Recent Example
In the summer of 2018, Trinity Western University Law school was denied accreditation because the university requires students to adhere to biblical standards.
The LGBTQ lobby took TWU to court because students on applying had to sign a document stating that they would abstain from any sexual immorality. The court found in favour of the LGBTQ lobby stating that TWU standards do not match the court’s definition of diversity.
In other words, any view is acceptable, except the biblical Christian view.

Humanists Forget History
The history of higher education in the western world, however, shows that Christians were at the forefront of meeting human needs, be it hospitals, orphanages or schools. Many post-secondary educational institutions were founded by Christians to prepare clergy and teachers, even as far back as 1663, with the founding of Universite Laval in Quebec.

An Honest Atheist
It’s almost impossible to read a news report or view a newscast without some reference to human rights. Often the view is that secular humanists are upholding human rights whereas Christians deny people their rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Chris Berg is an outspoken atheist, and he is honest when he writes, “Virtually all the secular ideas that non-believers value have Christian origins. It was theologians and religiously minded philosophers that developed concepts of individual human rights. The same with progress, reason, and equality before the law. It is fantasy to suggest that these values emerged out of thin air once people started questioning God.”

God Made Human Beings in His Image
For thousands of years, Christians have believed and taught that people are not just higher animals; we are images of God Himself. The people we live with and among, the people we talk to and talk about, all are made in the image of God. Therefore, every human being has intrinsic value, and is worthy of respect.

God Wrote the Operating Manual
The Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments prohibit actions against people that would counter their God-given rights:

  • Murder: the right to life
  • Sexual immorality: the exclusive right to their own spouse
  • Lying: the right to truth, to trust and be trusted
    Overwork: the right to a day of rest from work
  • Stealing: the right to own property
  • There is even a command against merely wanting what other people have.
  • The rest of the Ten Commandments focus on the human right to relate to God and with God in the way that He wants people to relate.

The concepts Western cultures value came from God through His Word and His people, yet secular humanists deny God exists and disparage His people. They talk about freedom, but ignore the fact that our Canadian society is free because it was built on the values taught in the Bible.

By actively seeking to silence God’s voice and the voice of Christians, they are destroying the very foundation of freedom that made this country great. Christian voices are being silenced today in education, law, politics, and even sports.

What Can Christians Do?
“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? Ps.11:3 The Psalmist goes on to say that “God is on His heavenly throne. He examines the righteous.” What does God see? Silent Christians? Believers afraid to speak for fear of what might happen to them? Surely not! God has given every Christian a voice. Surely today is a time to speak! Our words, written or spoken, are read or heard by others, and when they contain biblical truth, they influence other people. Christians must speak up, defend the laws that uphold Christian values and speak against those laws that deny and destroy these principles.

Now is the Time
Someday Canadian Christians will no longer be allowed to speak, in our blogs, our books, our magazine articles, on social media, or even in our churches.

Countries that developed without the influence of Christians have already silenced believers.

God is looking at us today. May He see believers who write, teach, speak, preach, protest, and proclaim His truth to an antagonistic world.

When Must We Peel the Tape Off?

Last week’s post A Talker Learns to Listen brought a greater than usual response. I discovered that many, surprisingly many, of my blog readers confessed to struggling with the same tendency to talk first, listen later, and sometimes, to not listen at all.

All this focus on keeping our mouths shut and listening seemed to call for a companion piece—focusing on occasions we should speak but often don’t. Here is an attempt at bringing balance.

The first occasion that popped into my mind is mentioned in James 5:16. “Confess your sins to each other. . .” We are not very good at confessing our sins, are we? Yes, we confess them to God in prayer, but what about confessing them to our spouse, a family member or a friend?

Tape offObviously if we have sinned against someone—like lying to them—we need to confess to that person and ask for forgiveness. But what if our sin was hidden? Like covetous, greedy thoughts, wanting what someone else has.

Even though internal and hidden, it is sin, and we need to confess, first to God, and then to someone we are close to, someone we can trust. Think of a time you confessed your sin to someone. Was it easy? Probably not. Staying silent would have been much easier. Yet when we have something to confess, is exactly the time to rip the tape off our mouths and talk. It is God’s command.

James goes on to say, “. . . pray for each other . . .” Another occasion to remove the tape.

Proverbs 31:28 tells of the virtuous wife and mother whose children and husband rip the tape off their mouths to call her blessed and praise her. Yes. We are already used to praising God and thanking Him for all He is and does for us, but we also need express our gratitude in words of praise and thanks to the people in our life for who they are and what they do for us.

And, speaking of praising God, the Psalms are full of encouragement to take off the tape and tell others what God has done for us. Ps. 73:28, “I will tell of all Your deeds.” Ps. 107:2, “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.” I call these God-stories and do workshops helping people to recognize, remember, repeat and record them.

One of my correspondents warned me not to blithely come to her and launch into a God-story of what He had done for me without finding out if, perhaps, she had a story about herself that she needed to tell. Excellent advice! We need to become aware of the personal needs of the potential listener, as well as the time, the situation, and the environment.

According to Job 16:5, and 1 Thess. 5:11 we need to rip off the tape and use our mouths to encourage one another, comfort others, and build each other up.

Then there is admonishing. It seems a lot of people have no problem admonishing others, but are rather resistant to receiving reprimands. It makes me chuckle to read the instructions in Colossians 3:16, “. . .  admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit . . .” It sounds like our rebukes are to be sung, not spoken. We have all had well-meaning people wag their finger in our face to reprimand us. Next time, maybe we could suggest they sing their rebuke—it’s biblical!

Writers like me invite knowledgeable people to read our stories and critique them. Authors even pay editors to go through their books and tell us all that is wrong, and give instructions on how to fix the problems. The Bible is packed with examples of people instructing others. We need to open our mouths to instruct, but only if the person we are coaching is open to learn from us.

Note that nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to tell stories about ourselves that make us look good. Yet, those come the most easily to mind, don’t they? When we are the heroes of our stories, the tape needs to be applied. “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth,”Proverbs 27:2.

Which of these verbs in the paragraph headings do you find the most difficult to activate in your life?