If you’re talking to someone and see they have a green piece of their lunch still caught in their teeth, do you say something? Or do you worry that they’ll be embarrassed and that they won’t like you anymore and that makes you uncomfortable so you look the other way and don’t say what they need to hear?
If I could wrestle this much over a trivial issue, how will I handle the important things?
This week’s character trait is boldness.
Boldness is being confident that what I have to say or do is true, right, and just. And then having the courage to follow through.
I’m reminded of the story of three young men who were faced with a difficult choice. The government of the land pressured them to do something they knew was wrong and threatened them with a horrific death if they refused to comply. These guys knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what was the right thing to do and had the boldness to speak. Can you hear the boldness in their words?
“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.'” (Daniel 3:16-18 NIV)
They knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would be wrong to bow and worship a statue of the king. And they were so confident of the truth, they were willing to die. (The great news is that they survived the fiery furnace and the visible presence of a fourth man in the middle of the flames served as a powerful testimony to the rulers!)
What about two fishermen who were arrested for telling others about Jesus’ resurrection? After being called before the religious court and told to stop speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus, Peter and John had boldness.
“But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.'” (Acts 4:19-20 NIV) They were then released.
When I see something that needs to be addressed, will I do something? And when I am challenged about something I believe, will I speak up?
What about you? Do you find it easy to speak the truth or do you get worried about the consequences? What is the balance between boldness and speaking the truth in love?