A Prayer for Knowing When to Speak Our Convictions
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
"A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth." - 2 Timothy 2:24-25
Sweet friends, I come here with something on my heart that can be a touchy subject. But over the past few weeks, I've just had a knot in my stomach at times over the displays of bickering and, in some cases, hateful comments I have seen on social media over posts sharing controversial topics. Strangers sparring with words over subjects that are so much bigger than one paragraph.
As someone who loves Jesus and wants everyone to know Him for themselves, I find myself thinking about how to express Biblical perspective and truth without coming across as judgmental and hypocritical, at the right time, in the right place, with the right words. I am no expert, and I mess up on the regular, but over the years, the Lord has taught me this about standing up for the Word and sharing Jesus: our words will mean nothing if we have not earned the right to speak into someone's life.
And what I mean by that is this: if there is no relationship, there is no respect for the convictions offered.
When I was teaching, I learned very quickly that if my students knew I truly loved them and believed in them, it changed the entire classroom dynamic in regard to rules and consequences if those rules were broken. At the beginning of the year, it was a guessing game as to how long it would take for each student to get to that point. Some who came from stable homes were quick to trust me. But others who had not known a consistent, unconditional love, or truly just had a longing to buck the system, took longer and were not willing to listen or accept my instruction at times.
It's the same way in life, y'all. Relationships first. Sharing truth in love after, one person at a time.
We all sin. There is not one who doesn't. But we are called to hold each other accountable as Christians and to share Jesus (and Biblical truth) with those who don't know Him yet. We cannot do either of those for someone if they don't already trust that we truly care about them, love them, and want what's best for them.
If those relationships are in place, when a difficult time comes, that person may come to us for advice or perspective. Then we can pray for the Lord to speak through us and open doors to share truth.
When people know you disagree with the choices they are making, but also know you love them in spite of them, it can change everything. Seeds can be planted for the Lord to grow and hopefully collect a harvest later on.
2 Timothy 3:14 says, "But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you." (italics mine)
If people know they can trust us because we speak from a place of love, they will listen, y'all. Let's guard our words. Whether spoken or typed.
If there is truly a burden on our hearts for the lost, for those who don't know truth, for those who need Jesus and just don't know it yet, let's be ever so careful to pray about voicing our convictions before we speak.
There are so many things that I want to say. I want to share my opinion and give my perspective and try to change minds toward you and your Word. But Lord, I know my words are empty unless they come from you. Please help me to be patient and wait for your timing.
Give me wisdom and discernment. Help me to speak the truth in love and let my words bring healing and build bridges and make connections where there were none before. Help my motives in speaking to be pure, and most of all, may you be glorified in everything I do and say.
In Your Mighty Name, Amen.
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mom, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book “Bumper” and blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her through her children and everyday life. She contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has twenty years experience working with young children. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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