When… we are persecuted
“Make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” Luke 21:14-15
Have you watched any cable news recently? How much do you appreciate the “debates” which are staged around any of the many issues or current events? Does it ever seem like those who are selected to talk are ever listening to one another much less being persuaded? Doesn’t it seem that the argument only serves to entrench everyone in their original positions? Plus, have you noticed how people can slide into their already prepared statements no matter the topic or question posed? It’s as if their plan is to get to their already prepared positions as quickly as they can.
Jesus told His followers they would come upon opposition. “They will lay hands on you and persecute you.” (21:12) “And so you will bear testimony to Me.” (21:13) Then Jesus promised we will receive inspiration for the moment. Don‘t prepare your words or your argument in advance.
I believe Jesus meant for us to “listen” before we speak. Listen to what people are saying. Listen first for the issue beneath their objections or even their accusations. Listening first means we will not be preparing our own words because we cannot do both at the same time. And because in the listening we may receive a clue for the response! We should respond to what they say, not with our previously prepared and memorized presentation. Listening first will lead us to inspired speaking.
For now, we can best spend our time listening to God’s Word and the promises of scripture. This listening will help us when it’s time to speak. Perhaps our words will actually sound like the truth “spoken in love.” (Ephesians 4:15) Trust that God will inspire you with words. May the words you speak be grounded in the Word of God in which you regularly dwell.