Finding the Courage to Speak Truth

As a writer and speaker, I’m constantly battling my people-pleasing tendencies and its underlying fear of rejection. One would think this would get easier with the more content I share, and in some ways it does. But in other ways, this inner struggle between self-protection and unhindered obedience seems to have gained momentum. Perhaps because I feel more is at stake. I’ve also discovered, with increased reach and exposure, often, comes increased backlash. Granted, the positive feedback I receive by far outweighs the ugly emails, messages, or comments. But as much as I hate to admit this, every attack leaves something of a mark.

Sometimes that mark is small, but a temporary annoyance, almost like that pesky fly that buzzes around your plate at the picnic table. Other times, like when the remark comes from someone I care about, they sink a bit deeper, causing worries and anxieties.

Then there are those moments when I wrestle with uncertainty, not knowing what to speak when. Is that jolt in my spirit from God, personal offense, or pride? Is my reluctance and discomfort an indication that God wants me to remain silent, or simply my anxiety rising within? I certainly don’t want to add to our world’s often mind-numbing noise with yet another humanity-driven post.

In short, in everything I do and say, I want to be Spirit, not Jennifer Slattery, led. That sounds oh-so-spiritual, doesn’t it? But living that desire out? That’s hard. It takes courage, patience, and a deep and continual reliance on Christ.

When I do that, not only will I find increased clarity regarding when and how to use my voice, but I’ll also find the strength and boldness to do so. Even in the face of great danger.

At least, that’s my hope and my goal. I want to be so filled with Christ, so surrendered to Him, He alone holds the key to my tongue. I don’t want to gauge my obedience on how others might respond or react to me.

I want to publicly, vocally, and courageously live for God, even if that means taking on the rich, the influential, and the powerful, like John the Baptist did, prior to his death. Scripture indicates, at some point, his words captured the attention of Herod the tetrarch who ruled Galilee in the early first century. Mark 6:18-20 tells us that “John had been saying to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.

Notice, John’s words weren’t light or affirming. He spoke some hard truths. And though he came “in the spirit and power of Elijah” and indeed turned many hearts toward Jesus (Luke 1:17), not everyone responded positively to his message. Some, like Herod, were intrigued, others were changed, and still others, like Herodias, lashed out against him.

When we share truth, we should expect similar results.

But God calls us to share His good news with all people—the angry and the kind, the curious and apathetic—relying on Him and leaving the result to Him.

I’m not there yet. I have moments where I speak with courage and other times when I remain quiet out of insecurity or fear. This is an area I need to grow in. I want to be alert to how God might want to use me and remain ready to respond. I want His voice, not my insecurities or other people’s responses, to drive my actions.

What about you? What stood out to you most in John’s behavior? Or, if you read the full account (found HERE and HERE), what stood out to you most in the passage? How might God be speaking to you through it?    

For those following along with our chronological Bible reading plan through the New Testament, today’s post kicked us off on day one.

Make sure to connect with Jennifer on Facebook and Instagram.

And catch the latest Faith Over Fear podcast episode here:

The Courage to Speak Truth – Ep. 76 Faith Over Fear

Our world has become increasingly angry, argumentative, and hostile to the gospel and biblical truth. Unfortunately, the church is, in part, to blame; we’ve become more known for what we’re against than for what we are for. But we mustn’t let the hateful misrepresentation of Christ silence our voice. People need the hope and power of Christ now more than ever. In this episode Jennifer Slattery and Ava Pennington discuss ways to increase our courage while simultaneously upping our truth and grace. Find Ava Pennington at: https://www.AvaPennington.com https://www.facebook.com/AvaPennington.AuthorPage https://www.instagram.com/avapennington3/ Find Jennifer: https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/ Find Wholly Loved, at: https://www.WhollyLoved.com Join the private Faith Over Fear Group Here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671 Group Discussion Questions: 1. What encouraged you most during today’s episode? 2. What are some emotions you would have struggled with, had you been in Timothy’s position? 3. What emotions arise when you consider initiating spiritual conversations with others? 4. When do you find it most challenging to share your faith? 5. Why is it important to remind ourselves of our calling (whether that’s in a particular role or the general call to share Christ with others) during times of opposition? 6. What are some ways you can “fan” your gift “into flame”? 7. How can asking questions help reduce our listener’s defenses? 8. Why is it important to balance truth with clearly revealed grace? 9. Consider a time when someone came at you with grace-less truth. How did you respond and why? 10. Consider a time when someone spoke truth to you in a gentle and grace-filled way. How did you respond and why? 11. Why is it important to establish a relationship with someone before attempting to speak truth into their life? 12. What is one action step God might be wanting you to take this week? Episode Image Credit: Getty/Ponomariova Maria
  1. The Courage to Speak Truth – Ep. 76
  2. The Courage to Heal from Church Hurt – Ep. 75
  3. Introducing: Reframed The Power of Perspective
  4. Healing from Religious Abuse (with Philip Yancey) – Ep. 74
  5. The Courage to Seek Counseling – Ep. 73

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