Do you find it easy to sit back and let other people do the talking? It is a very tempting idea to hide and not say anything. Such fears are a common problem. You are not the only one suffering from this problem. In the Bible, it is called the fear of Man. For me, I sometimes have the opposite problem. It seems that I’ve something in common with Trump.
Yet, I am not exempt from my own fears of other people’s opinions. It’s probably good that I’ve encountered both sides of the equation. In this article, I’d like to share how Jesus helped me in overcoming my set of fears. I believe that it will be of value to you.
Here’s the first tip in overcoming such fears. It begins with a decision to stop playing the “Game of Hints“. Am I talking about a bad Game of Throne sequel? No. If you want the full details then I invite you to click on the link. It will take you to an old blog post that I wrote.
The game of hints is predicated on the idea of leaving hints for the individuals to figure out. You could call it a social game of Clue. Unlike the actual game and the George R. R. Morrow’s “Game of Throne”, there is no clear objective for the player to achieve. The objective is only known to the dropper of hints.
In reality, the target player has no clue of your real feeling or if something is wrong. The individual is simply playing a guessing game and it is a game that is ripe for misinterpretation. It is better to say something then to say nothing.
In my case, someone was irritated by my action; however, he didn’t confront me. If not for the Holy Spirit prompting me, I would have no clue. If the person had been dropping hints, it totally backfired. The guy chose to sit on his anger and it finally exploded. Even if it is abrasive, an open rebuke is better than saying nothing.
5 Better is open rebukeProverbs 27:5-6 NASB ’95
Than love that is concealed.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
In the end, they guy proved to be more of a friend then the person who says nothing. It’s true that he was angry with me and he was justified. Though the words were sharp, it became clear that he was hurt. Thankfully, I asked the Holy Spirit to help the both of us. In doing so, my confusion didn’t turn into a retaliatory strike.
With God’s help, I went a different route and it centers on healing and reconciliation. Because of the slippery slope of anger and wrath, I felt it wise to share this warning about leaving hints. If you search the Internet, you’ll find plenty of examples of this game going the wrong way. Let’s move on to the next item.
Here’s the second tip and it’s rooted in the article’s title image. Before we rush off to speak, it is a good idea to pray for boldness and God’s wisdom in speaking. The quote in the image is based on what the Church prayed in Acts 4:24-31.
24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,
‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
And the peoples devise futile things?
26 ‘The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’
27 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. 29 And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”Acts 4:24-30 NASB ’95
The threats of the religious leaders were not idle ones and it would have been easy to run in fear or not speak anything. However, the believers knew that God has called them to share the Gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and beyond. The believers chose to not rely on their own strength and ask God to grant them, the needed boldness to heal and to speak out.
Don’t sit on your anger or frustration and wait for it to boil over. You will only have a bigger mess on your hands. Ask Jesus for the wisdom and boldness to say something. You may be inclined to think my last statement is strange; however, it is quite the contrary. For me, I had to ask “How do I say this in a spirit of gentleness as I don’t want to ram the person’s head through a wall.
The same principle applies if I was on the other side of the spectrum. Don’t be afraid to ask God for the boldness and the needed wisdom before confronting someone. Have you not read what Paul says to Timothy in his second letter?
7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.2 Timothy 1:7 NASB ’95
The same Jesus who granted the early Church the boldness to speak out and share the good news of the Kingdom of God is the same one who can help you. You need not be living with fear. Why would he care about your issues or concern? God would not be a good Father if he didn’t take an interest in the believers of today. For nothing is too small or too great for God.
Does this mean that I can talk like certain loud mouths? Think, again! Let’s start with a passage from Ephesians 4:29. It will lead to the next tip.
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.Ephesians 4:29
In no way is Paul endorsing the idea of saying anything. Edification is a building term and it simply means the instruction or improvement of a person, morally or intelectually. As with a building, you can’t make improvement if you don’t identify the problem. I’d suggest praying and seeking God’s directions before you dive into a do-it-yourself project.
Here’s a follow up to the above admonition. It appears Paul has some experience with the do-it-yourself crowd. Keep in mind, I am not talking about home remodeling. With a house, I can see what needs to be done. However, human being is a different story. Only God can see the person’s heart.
Here’s what Paul says in Galatians 6:1
6 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.Galatians 6:1 NASB ’95
Ask God for the right words to speak and not your own. God cares more about that person than you do. He knows what should really be said. Ask Jesus for the right words. Keep the following proverbs in mind and avoid the tactics of the Accuser.
15 A gentle answer turns away wrath,Acts 15:1-3
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,
But the mouth of fools spouts folly.
3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good.
How about I give you an illustration based on my own life. It is more of a what if scenario than an actual occurrence. Years ago, I was in the last year or so of college. At the time, I had an unhealthy interest in fantasy role playing games It’s during this time, I came to know a young man who had a zeal to evangelize me.
One day, he happens to see me and notice that I had my fantasy role-playing books with me. Clearly Scriptures does say believers are to not play around with magic; Yes, I was a believer and did know what the Bible says about real magic.
Here’s where the above tips would have helped him in talking to me. He could have asked “Why are you so interested in this fantasy role playing stuff?” The Holy Spirit would have told him to ask me or ask a question such as “What are you running from?”
You see, I was in a lot of emotional pain and I was seeking a way of escape. My evangelical friend would not have known this or the deep need for healing. By this, I am talking about my heart. It would probably not have been a good idea to launch into a lecture on the depravity of Man. I actually needed to learn who I am in Christ and that I did not need to be wrapped up in trying to escape the real world.
Can you see why it is a good idea to ask Jesus for the right words before diving in? Yes, God will give you the boldness to speak up and you need not be afraid. At the same time, we need to speak boldly with a spirit of humility and gentleness.
Don’t be afraid to ask God, the Father about what you’re reading and what the Holy Spirit is saying. I can only share from what I know and understand. I’m not your Holy Spirit. We have one Teacher. Let’s go to Jesus for wisdom and boldness.