Thought it would be awesome to have a guest blogger to share some insights and ideas on The Mustard Seed. Hoping to make this a regular occurrence, if I can find willing people to write! To start it off, I thought of no one better than my own husband – Joel. He is going to explore… Boldness 🙂
Well it has been a while since I have blogged, so forgive me if I ‘go off piste’.
A month or so ago, Ruth and I went to visit her family in East Anglia. Contrary to many well known myths, they don’t (all) have webbed feet or have two heads. Just kidding, but seriously now. A very good friend of ours paid a visit and his encouragement to Ruth was:
Always be bold
I feel this is a valuable piece of advice for all and sundry, as in this over secularised world that we live in, personal opinion and belief are the first things to take the hit. Being bold is nothing about using different font settings on your computer. Nor is it solely a washing product. It is a valuable trait which, when used wisely, can define a generation; when used badly it can alienate one.
I always think it’s helpful to provide an outline as a kind of compass to the readers. Firstly, I am going to discuss what boldness is (very helpful when discussing about a topic to actually understand what it is). Secondly, I will try to answer: why bold? (No mean feat, but what the heck). And finally, if you get down this far, I hope to provide some food for thought about the impact of being bold.
What is being bold?
To understand the meaning of a word one would go straight to a dictionary. In some cases this will suffice, however to understand something it helps to go beyond the dictionary definition and look at boldness in action.
Take Daniel McArthur, for example, the owner of the Ashers Baking Company in Northern Ireland, whose company declined to produce a cake for a pro-Gay Marriage group. Regardless of your stance on this cause, Mr McArthur, who strongly disagreed with the cause the cake was for, boldly declined the business so not to contradict his personal belief.
In addition, let’s look back to the Black Civil Rights movement and the many people who challenged the status quo of racism in American society, such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. In both of these cases they went against the full force of society and were prepared to take a stand for what they believed to be true.
Or let’s look back a bit further to ancient Egypt with Moses and Pharaoh. Moses, who had murdered a slave driver and fled to the wilderness boldly followed God to ask Pharaoh for the release of His people. Knowing that Moses wasn’t on the ‘best of terms’ with Pharaoh, he persevered for what he believed was right.
All of these people took a stand for what they believed to be the truth, despite the force of the opposition against them. We see their actions as bold because they showed courage and were willing to take a risk in order that the truth prevail.
Yes, bold makes stuff stand out on a page but it is a very important characteristic for the 21st century individual. Like words on a page, boldness (as an attribute) makes a statement which either your eyes flock to or avoid. But why would it be desired in a society where we should conform and not be out of step?
We all know that people are stupid. It is easy to think of examples where people have been led astray into following strange and deranged political ideologies. Going with the flow in such societies allowed and supported grave crimes against humanity – against our own flesh and blood.
We delude ourselves into thinking that the world we live in now is a better world: from seeing the end of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade; the end of two World Wars and the atrocities occurring during them, and the end of apartheid and black/white tensions in the US during the 50s and 60s (even though the effects are still experienced today). The world we live in now is just as much a dark place where even more depraved things occur. Today, people (including children) are shipped off to feed the sexual appetites of those in richer countries. Today, people are brutally murdered to incite fear into their adversaries. Today, states lock up and murder those who believe in something different to them.
The vast majority of people agree that these things are wrong, however will idly sit by as the world corrupts itself into feeding the status quo. However, to stand up and say that these things are wrong takes courage and without such boldness the world will go in a downward spiral to its demise. Boldness stands up for the truth and speaks out against the darkness of this world. The world needs more William Wilberforces than XFactor winners.
But what about the subtle infringements on our daily lives? In such a society we are forming our own set of rules whereby if you are this you are better than those that are that. If you believe this then you are obviously less intelligent than those who believe that. Or if you disagree with this then you are an unequal bigot. We need bold individuals to stand up and speak out against what society is doing here.
We are slowly encroaching on being dictated to; not by an overzealous state, but by the deluded society we live in. This is happening and this is the real world, where the search for equality is developing an ‘Animal Farm’ sort of equality, whereby:
‘We are all equal; but some are more equal than others’
This is not equality at all as demonstrated in George Orwell’s Animal Farm; this only ends in the downward spiral of society. Why bold? Because without it, we’ll be stepping back to living in a place where we are all forced into believing the same thing and who knows where we’ll be. As mentioned earlier, being bold means standing up for the truth in the face in adversity and speaking out against the darkness.
Impact of boldness
We have seen that boldness is being courageous and standing up for the truth, and that the world we live in is in dire need of bold people. Jesus is probably the clearest example of a bold person; someone who divided opinion but who stood up for the truth, yet did no wrong. However, through his ministry we saw the world slowly change; a clear dichotomy was revealed between those who believed and those that did not. Those that did not formed their own beliefs and religions, were anti-religion and/or attempted to smother all those with faith. Jesus has achieved something only Marmite has since been able to replicate: you either love him or hate him.
However, Jesus’ message was always love, peace and grace. We are able to love as He has shown us love. We are able to be peaceful as He has made peace with us. We are able to be graceful as He has given us grace. The impact of Jesus’ ministry is profound; there is the recoil of the darkness, which tries to smother and prevent the spread of the church. Also, there is the ever growing numbers of believers despite nearly 2000 years passing since His physical presence has left the planet.
But what would the impact be if we were bold? Would it end the prevailing darkness? Will it end the slave trade? The answer is: yes and no. Yes – being bold may bring back some change in the way we are, which prevents the degrading of our fellow humans. No – as long as we are on this planet the sin that is in human hearts will continue to allow humans to mistreat others/the planet in order to achieve their goals.
Should we be negative and not pursue boldness since there will always be the issue of sinful hearts? Not at all. Even though there is not one righteous bone in our body, God still calls us to stop sinning, and to turn to him. Therefore faith in itself is bold. Continue to follow Him and trust Him enough to know that the truth will prevail over unbelief.
Whatever you should face this week, month, year – know that God has overcome it all and is with you always. Remember:
Be bold, be strong, for the Lord your God is with you
Joel is a follower of Jesus, a husband, an information officer in a hospital and an amazing cook. In his spare time, he likes to program, watch films and TV series and play guitar. Oh, and support his wonderful wife blogger lady friend. He tweets: @thisisjoelc. He will most likely be posting more on this blog in the future, so watch this space!