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Whispering So They Can All Hear

Yesterday I was reflecting on some of the details of our trip to Haiti this summer. (I guess you could say I have been thinking a lot about Haiti recently and feel like I didn’t have enough time there)

One of the more comical moments was after we would land from one of our flights. Apparently, I have an issue with my ears when it comes to flying.

The pressure does some temporary damage to my eardrums and they do not pop very easy. So after a flight, everything was muffled and sounded as though I had some ear muffs on. I didn’t realize EVERYONE could talk like Charlie Brown’s teacher! To avoid screaming in someone’s face when talking to them, I decided to “auto-adjust” my volume level. The only problem was, I wasn’t very accurate in setting the volume at a reasonable tone. In fact, the overachiever in me was released and my volume level was brought to a nice, low, “soap opera” tone. As I would share stories and opinions, my team members were continually asking me to repeat myself. I’m sure I was the most annoying person to talk with immediately following a flight.

But today, as I was internally laughing about all of it, I realized that there were some very interesting truths about those moments. From where I sit, it seems like there are two predominant species of Gospel-spreaders:

The first one is the “Scream Unto Submission” species. This Gospel-spreader can be spotted marching in front of night clubs frequented by gay couples, abortion clinics, and rock concerts. They will usually be toting poster boards or signs proclaiming God’s disgust of these people and their lifestyles. Oh they’ll not readily admit this. In fact, they’ll defer to the infamous “we love the sinner, but hate the sin.” The reality is they hate the sin, the sinner, the sinner’s friends, and the sinner’s mom. In no part of their attempts to be Jesus do they convey love. Jesus painted the perfect picture for us in John 8 when he said to the teachers of the law of the adulterous woman, “let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” He then lovingly restored her and commanded her to remain in this place of restoration.

The second species is the “Compromise Unto Conviction” species.  This Gospel-spreader is very hard to spot…almost impossible!  You would almost need to know this person on a personal level to know that they were in fact a believer.  This species claims a strategy of “meeting them where they are” in an amplified manner.  Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that you must be willing to go into dark places of the world on rescue missions.  But by amplified, I mean that sometimes, it’s hard to see the line in the dark to know if you’re crossing it or not.  Have you ever had an encounter with a law officer at night and he shines his gamma ray flashlight at you and blinds you to the point that you can keep your eyes open?  No?  Uh, me neither?  But for those of you who know what I’m talking about, your eyes know that there has been an abrupt change in scenery and they’re trying to adjust to this change.  Jesus always referred to himself as light.  Jesus also referred to himself as true love.  But He didn’t just say these things.  He lived them.  In Mark 2, Jesus was found reclining at the table of a tax collector, Levi.  There were also droves of other misfits there.  This clearly tells me that we need to go to these dark places.  But you can’t just be there.  This would be like whispering in a loud room.  No one will hear you or possibly even recognize that you’re in the room.  We need to be able to teach them a different Way while in their context.  The Way of mercy, grace, & forgiveness.  Jesus was among them as their friends.  In this context, our words will have meaning.

As I would share stories and experiences with my friends, they would continually tell me to speak up.  I had no idea I was speaking too low.  I assumed that talking too loud would be offensive and talking too low would pointless.  I had to rely on them to adjust my tone and volume level to a point that they could listen to me.

So where is the sweet spot?  Where is the comfortable level so that others can hear us without feeling that they’re being yelled at?  One lesson I learned about this is that I must frequently rely on my brothers and sisters to adjust me.  I believe that perfect level is found in a whisper that everyone can hear.

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Categories: Christian Living
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