by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson
But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back. Hebrews 10:38 NIV
Some people love the challenge of conflict. I’m not one of them. When I feel that nudge to address something I know the other person won’t want to hear, I want to pull a Jonah and run the other way.
When my son Brant was in high school, he came home delighted that his teacher had promised to show them a popular Hollywood movie on Shakespeare. Watch a movie instead of doing schoolwork? The whole class was excited.
Ironically, I had just seen the DVD. Having counseled women whose husbands had abandoned them for younger, sexier models, I was appalled that it glamorized an adulterous affair as the inspiration of Shakespeare’s genius.
The thought of an authority figure (teacher and school) filling impressionable minds with a destructive lie did not sit well. If the college students I worked with were confused by the views of their professors, how much more vulnerable were high school-aged youth? How many of them already lived in households suffering from this damaging mindset?
The Bible makes it clear that sin never bears good fruit. In real life, Hollywood’s fictional tales of extra-marital flings play out as horror stories of bitter loss.
Jesus said the truth sets us free. But the message and messenger can be misunderstood. I didn’t want to look like a religious, uptight nut, and I didn’t want to put my son in an uncomfortable position. Who wants to be the kid whose mom stopped movie day?
I talked with Brant. He agreed that doing right trumped comfort.
The teacher said she thought it over and would not show the movie. Yay! Her icy tone said she was not happy. Boo.
Shortly afterwards, Brant brought home a well-written paper covered in red ink with a grade of high “C.” Her comments were nit-picky and out of character from her previous grading. A sinking feeling in my stomach told me my son was paying for my call.
When speaking truth, even in love, brings backlash, we may hesitate to speak up again. We question if it is worth it.
Moses, who lived like a prince in Egypt, provides perspective. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (Hebrews 11:26).
The world views those who believe the Bible is God’s handbook on life as being narrow and out of touch. As a friend once said, it’s popular to search for truth, but narrow to find it.
Thankfully, Brant’s story ended well. He discussed his paper with his teacher, and she raised his grade to an “A.” Even if his grade had remained low, it would hardly count as a great loss. But I’ve found the fear of even small slights or being tagged a troublemaker can intimidate me into silence.
Different situations tempt us to shrink back from obeying God’s prompting. When that happens, we need to ask for clarity and courage and take the plunge. Who knows the ripple effect our obedience—or disobedience—will have on us as well as those who watch?
“But we are not of those who shrink back…” Hebrews 10:39 NIV
About the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog.
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