“I would have just kept walking! I wasn’t looking! Why didn’t you say anything?!” (In a truly loving, laughing tone.)
Well, because, typically I don’t. I don’t say anything; not hey, or watch out, or I know I’m short but I am standing here!
It could be because I suppose people will figure it out eventually. Or maybe because I think it’s good servant-hood. Or maybe I believe that speaking against something is wrong…all of the time.
The glaring reminder was screaming, “if you don’t speak up, you’ll get run over!”
And typically, I get so tired of being run over that I burst. I rip at the seams and something unpleasing, unattractive, and unloving comes spewing out like the holy debris of Mt. St. Helens. These spews show their faces in forms of tears, anger, frustration, and words.
And typically, that’s not so good.
“Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use. 1 Timothy 4:11-12
I’m sure we all understand that “the word” isn’t “you’re running into me by not looking”. And I’m sure we all understand that in the context, this verse is talking about not letting others think less of you because you’re younger or less experienced than they are. But I hope we can all understand that this applies to a larger, more encompassing issue, as well.
Let’s face it, the true context of the verse feels a lot like being run over. You voice your belief, a word you got from the Almighty, a vision you saw, or a thought you think is clever, and no one listens; no one gives it a second thought. And ouch. Needless to say, I sometimes feel I need to rush through my twenties just to be heard. But the other truth to this verse is that a silent mouth does nothing for progression or change. A closed mouth doesn’t hold its ground, stand firm, or inspire greatness. A closed mouth is just that, a closed, silent, shut mouth.
There’s nothing that justifies a mouthy mouth, a loud mouth, a know-it-all mouth, or even a constantly in motion mouth, but when Paul said “get the word out”, he was encouraging each and every person to speak; speak up, speak into others, speak out. And a closed mouth surely does not accomplish any of the above.
Each time I leave my mouth closed when I am being run over, all that happens is a little more running over. Of course, mom was right when she said not to say anything if you have nothing nice to say...or something like that. When we’re offended we have a pretty immediate response to say something offensive and loud right back. This is totally different; this kind of speaking calls for having boundaries, having faith, and having respect for yourself, for God, and for others.
The truth is, your voice needs to be heard, your opinion matters, and your mouth was created to create beauty and love. If you’re wasting that gift, if you believe it doesn’t matter, just try saying one nice thing to one person. Watch how it changes their attitude, their day, or their life.
Speak up, be heard, and don’t get run over.