Acts 18:9-10

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.”

blacklivematter-7970It takes great courage to speak out on what is true. I’m not talking about spreading gossip or sensationalizing controversy but instead speaking truth to power. When you are a voice for the voiceless those who benefit from their oppression will do everything within their power to shut you up. That’s just it though! They don’t have the power to shut you up!

One man told me that it’s no use speaking truth to power because “that’s just the way America is…you saw what happened to all those who tried to speak up.” Malcolm spoke up. Abraham Lincoln Spoke up. John F. Kennedy spoke up. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spoke up. They were all killed.

They died after their purpose had been fulfilled. The truth of the matter is that we will all die at some point. I’d rather die a free man then live as a dead man with no voice.

Jesus told Paul in a vision to keep on speaking. The apostle Paul had been attacked previously and threats were made on his life for preaching the gospel. The early apostles preached in environments as hostile as any ISIS encounter. They were cut in half, crucified upside down, and beheaded. But Jesus says to Paul “A few things we need to hear today.”

1. Don’t be afraid. It’s easy to become intimidated by terrorist activity to the point you don’t want to speak. Their propaganda will make you feel that you’re outnumbered. The reality is that “greater are those with you than are against you!” Jesus tells Paul “I have many more people in this city!”

2. Speak out! When you see something wrong, when you see injustice, speak out! People can’t get out unless you speak out. The more we speak out collectively the less room evil has to operate. It’s not snitching if you’re helping to save lives. As a matter of fact when you don’t speak out trying to save your life you lose it but when you speak out to save others you find life.

3. Don’t keep silent. The reason things stay the same is because of the silence of those who could change it. It’s not so much the evil actions of wicked people that destroy communities it’s the silence of good people that help it spread. That’s why our ancestors wrote our national hymn, “Lift every voice and sing till earth and heaven ring, ring with the harmony of liberty!”

Does it do any good to speak out?! Everybody that spoke out got killed! Abraham Lincoln spoke and the slaves were emancipated. Malcolm spoke and we learned to love our blackness. JFK spoke and we were desegregated. Martin spoke and we got our civil rights. Jesus spoke and they killed him but three days later he got up! Now death has lost its sting and the grave has lost its power. Don’t stop speaking!

Dear God,

Thank you for using my voice to speak to your people, those that want to hear and those that don’t. Your word will not return void. Give us the courage to speak truth to power and to set our faces like flint. Give us the power to speak out today and to keep speaking tomorrow.

In Jesus Name,

Amen