Your Voice Matters
September 25, 2020
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice." 
Proverbs 31:8-9

If we didn't know it before, 2020 has taught us that we are not in complete control of our lives. With so many things being "out of control" it might feel useless to put forth any effort at all. Maybe you're like me. I used to think that I was too small and insignificant to make any reasonable impact on the world. I didn't believe I had a purpose. I had a voice but I didn't think anyone would want to hear it. I had ideas, but didn't believe they really mattered in the grand scheme of life.

Then, I wrote my first book and went on a national tour. Only God knew how many people would see themselves in Par for the Curse. All over the US, people came to book signings and said, "This is my story." One woman in Las Vegas, told me that after she read the book she had a long overdue discussion with her mother. Both of them thanked me. I cried, of course. I was (and still am) a little no-name author from Appalachia who had something to say. My voice matters. So does yours.  

In Matthew 27:11-26  Jesus was standing trial before Pontius Pilate, the governor. Pilate knew that Jesus had done nothing that warranted punishment. He tried desperately to get Jesus to speak up for himself, but Jesus did not respond.

WWJD? Stay quiet when people falsely accuse you. You don't need to respond to your "haters." 

In verse 19, Pilate's wife sends him a message. She tells him that she had a terrible dream and that he should not have any part in punishing Jesus. She tells him that Jesus is an innocent man.  Pilate already knew this. But, instead of being a courageous leader, he leaves the decision to the crowd.  The crowd yelled, "Crucify him!" Pilate tries to persuade them by asking the crowd, "What crime has he committed?" 

Verse 24 tells us that "When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd."  He tells them that he is innocent and it is their responsibility.  The crowd accepted that responsibility by saying, "His blood is on us and our children."  

Yikes! That's a lot of politically motivated hate. 

Jesus was innocent. Pilate knew it. His wife knew it. She had the courage to tell her husband, but she did not have the power to make him act. Isn't that very similar to our lives today?  Our voices can be loud and moving and still not force the needed change. 

So why bother? I'm glad you asked. Because...

God knows your name and that's what matters.
You can have a major impact without anyone ever knowing your name.  In a culture where we chase "friends" and "followers" to create a name for ourselves, we should remember that we can be integral to God's plan without having a "big name". We don't know the name of "Pilate's wife" but we know her voice was important enough that Matthew included her in his biography of Jesus. 

It was obviously important for us to know that somebody spoke up for Jesus. Each of us can be that voice regardless of our "following" or social status. You may not have a "big name" but you have a voice. Use it to speak up for those who cannot (or can no longer) speak for themselves as Proverbs 31:8-9 instructs us. 

The action is your responsibility, not the outcome.
Pilate's wife did what she believed was right.  You have to do what's right without being tied to the outcome. You know... the whole "let go and let God" thing. If God gives you the inspiration, follow through on it and let Him do the rest. 

Your voice may not evoke immediate change. However, when change comes—and it will come, you want to be on the right side of history by using your voice to "ensure justice for those being crushed." 

God speaks when you calm down, not the situation.
We mostly find God in quiet, peaceful places. We find him in the whisper. Therefore, you have to calm yourself in the chaos to hear what God is saying to you. Pilate's wife had a dream— that meant she was asleep, right? While her husband was trying the biggest case in the history of the world, she went to sleep. In that sleep, God revealed to her that Jesus was innocent. She got up and used her voice. 

There is plenty of noise from all sides right now, but what is that little voice inside of you saying? Did you had a dream that you ignored because things are crazy? Did you have a thought to do something positive, but later dismissed it as silly? If you know the right thing to do, do it. If you can't find God in this mess, calm down, get off of social media, take a nap...quiet yourself so God can strengthen you to use your voice. 

God has a plan.
Pilate didn't listen to his wife. He didn't have the courage to follow what he knew was right...that Jesus was innocent. But guess what? None of that mattered because in the end, God had a plan.  

When God's plan for America unfolds, will you be like Pilate, afraid to do what's right? Or will you be like his nameless wife who used her voice to force change— change that eventually came.

Change eventually comes. Do you want to be apart of it? 
Don't use your faith as an excuse not to


"When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding."  - Provers 28:12

In case you just returned from a trip to Mars...
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd. 

Reading While Black is a personal and scholarly testament to the power and hope of Black biblical interpretation. At a time in which some within the African American community are questioning the place of the Christian faith in the struggle for justice, New Testament scholar McCaulley argues that reading Scripture from the perspective of Black church tradition is invaluable for connecting with a rich faith history and addressing the urgent issues of our times.

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