So many today want their voice to be heard. They crave to be heard- DEMAND to be heard! Literally millions of books and articles have been written, not to mention the thousands and thousands of blogs and forums on the internet. Angry JWs, Ex-JWs, Children-of-JWs, Spouses-of-JWs, etc. want their voices heard. Also a variety of Christian groups and religions want their voices heard too, and make many different attempts to “get the word out” about their Sunday services, Christmas pageant, bake sale, Bible summer camp, etc. The creator knows and is aware of this inborn desire that we have for recognition and acceptance. He made us this way. Are these endeavors wrong? How could they be if God and Christ put it in our DNA? But part of it can also be attributed to “the spirit of the world” (Eph 2:2) Independence, rebelliousness, “me-ism” are all rampant and some of this has rubbed off on all of us, there’s no doubt about it.
Consider Jeremiah. He was commissioned directly by Jehovah to preach to his own people. They didn’t listen, didn’t appreciate it, and for the most part it was a “casting of pearls before swine” as Jesus said. And Jeremiah got discouraged…very, very discouraged. Can you blame him? at Jeremiah 4:19-22 he said:
“. . .O my intestines, my intestines! I am in severe pains in the walls of my heart. My heart is boisterous within me. I cannot keep silent, for the sound of the horn is what my soul has heard, the alarm signal of war. 20 Crash upon crash is what has been called out, for the whole land has been despoiled. Suddenly my tents have been despoiled, in a moment my tent cloths. 21 How long shall I keep seeing the signal, keep hearing the sound of the horn? 22 For my people is foolish. Of me they have not taken note. They are unwise sons; and they are not those having understanding. . . .”
How discouraged are we? Are we letting it all get us down and causing us to lose our Godly Joy? Proverbs 17:22 says “. . .A heart that is joyful does good as a curer, but a spirit that is stricken makes the bones dry.” and that is so true. How badly do we want/need to be heard? We all need encouragement, and to hear “atta boy!” because again, it’s an inherent desire within us. If we are not getting it at home or within our congregation it can be very depressing, and this world is hard enough without another test like that. Perhaps that’s one of the purposes that the internet serves. It’s certainly a way to connect with fellow Christians and to do research and continue to test ourselves. But we can also get that positive feedback that we all need and deserve. Notice what Paul said at 2 Corinthians 13:5-9:
“. . .Keep testing whether YOU are in the faith, keep proving what YOU yourselves are. Or do YOU not recognize that Jesus Christ is in union with YOU? Unless YOU are disapproved. 6 I truly hope YOU will come to know we are not disapproved. 7 Now we pray to God that YOU may do nothing wrong, not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that YOU may be doing what is fine, though we ourselves may appear disapproved. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We certainly rejoice whenever we are weak but YOU are powerful; and for this we are praying, YOUR being readjusted.”
So this is where our motive comes in. WHY do we want to be heard? What is our true motive, deep within our heart? It reminds us of the illustration Jesus gave about forgiving our fellow brothers, Do we give them the “benefit of the doubt” and then “doubt the benefits” as the saying goes? (Matthew 18:23-35) Part of that account says”
“28 But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves that was owing him a hundred de‧nar′i‧i; and, grabbing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back whatever you owe.’ 29 Therefore his fellow slave fell down and began to entreat him, saying, ‘Be patient with me and I will pay you back.’ 30 However, he was not willing, but went off and had him thrown into prison until he should pay back what was owing.”
So no matter how much we disagree with someone else, and feel we are right, we need to show compassion and forgiveness as Jesus instructed us! This could apply to a member of your congregation or a family member or even to one of the ones mentioned above. It doesn’t matter whether they respond or appreciate it- what matters is our attitude and demeanor towards them and towards Jehovah. Remember the song we used to sing, “Let’s be like Jeremiah”? What a great example he set. We don’t want to fall into that worldly trap of thinking “more of ourselves than it is necessary to think” as Romans 12:3 says. Here’s what James had to say:
“13 Come, now, YOU who say: “Today or tomorrow we will journey to this city and will spend a year there, and we will engage in business and make profits,” 14 whereas YOU do not know what YOUR life will be tomorrow. For YOU are a mist appearing for a little while and then disappearing. 15 Instead, YOU ought to say: “If Jehovah wills, we shall live and also do this or that.” 16 But now YOU take pride in YOUR self-assuming brags. All such taking of pride is wicked. 17 Therefore, if one knows how to do what is right and yet does not do it, it is a sin for him.” (James 4:13-17)
Speak your peace. Be heard. It actually may be part of God’s will and purpose that you do so. Christ said if we didn’t speak the stones would cry out…But doing it in the right way- that can be the hard part.