Friday, September 7, 2018

Write the Uncomfortable Truth by Melinda Viergever Inman

Melinda Viergever Inman

Write the Uncomfortable Truth

As writers, we may be called upon to write hard words, to step into the role of a prophet—one who has to proclaim uncomfortable truth, regardless of opposition. Prophets make people squirm. But prophets are essential. When something needs to change, the Lord has always used the voice of one crying out.

Christian voices speaking truth are addressing many matters:

  • continuing racial division in the church and in our country
  • sexual abuse of children by the clergy
  • sexual harassment or abuse of women by male church staff
  • damage done to the church by political affiliations
  • social barriers that keep people out of our churches, rather than welcoming them in to hear the gospel of God’s grace

All of these issues, and many others besides, cause the church to appear to be something that it should not be, rather than a holy gathering of people who love, trust, and follow Jesus.

Unfortunately, until Christ returns, the church will always be imperfect. It’s comprised of sinful people who are in the process of growth, for none of us reach perfection this side of glory. Just read the New Testament. Almost every church mentioned has an issue.

So, how does the church deal with this wisely? The world is watching.

Ideally, we all listen to one another. We all repent. We all ask forgiveness for our wrongdoing. We all forgive. We all go forward seeking growth in Christ. Harmony returns. And then when the next crisis occurs, we all go through the process again.

But often this isn’t the case. Instead, we do nothing.

We grow comfortable with the status quo. Slowly we morph into our broken society, becoming more like the world than like Christ. Therefore, prophetic voices are needed, calling for repentance and change.

Most writers don’t want this assignment. We don’t want to make people uncomfortable.

But when the Lord gives us the task of writing a hard truth, we must rise to the occasion and follow in the steps of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist.

How?

We make certain of our calling.

We pray for God's wisdom.

We repent of our own hypocrisy in the area of question.

We seek the Lord, asking him to purify our hearts.

We immerse ourselves in his Word.

We listen as he speaks there.

And we edit the dickens out of those posts.

I agonize over these posts more than any other, spending many days revising and revising again, seeking exactly the right tone:

Firm, yet loving. To the point, yet humble. Truthful, yet kind.

I imagine the backlash. I prepare myself beforehand for the arguments. I question yet again if this is what the Lord wants said at this time and in this way. Yet, I also rest in the fact that eventually, one day, these truths will be revealed as right.

I pray. I sit in silence.


Matthew 10:26 NIV 


If you’re called to step into a prophet’s shoes, I encourage you not to be afraid. Write what God has given you. As you do, keep these things in mind:

You’re not the only one saying/writing this. When God moves, his Spirit moves broadly. Others are already thinking, speaking, and writing the same things. In fact, this is yet another confirmation. You are not alone.

The outcome of your words is entirely dependent upon the will of the Lord, the purpose he has, and the response of the hearers. We can build our argument, but will their ears hear it? Maybe yes. Maybe no. That’s up to the Holy Spirit and the softness or hardness of the hearers’ hearts.

God will use your words with the audience he intends. You may never know whose heart was touched or how the situation was changed. You may not know who the other voices of truth are. But God does. That’s all that matters.

The Lord will uphold you, no matter the outcome. He is with you. Do not be afraid.




 
Melinda V Inman, Author of: Refuge; Fallen; and No Longer Alone


Raised on the Oklahoma plains in a storytelling family, Melinda Viergever Inman now spins tales from her writer’s cave in the Midwest. Her faith-filled fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives. Find her weekly at http://MelindaInman.com/blog/. To find her work and to be notified of future published novels, follow her at http://bit.ly/MelindasBooks/.

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23 comments:

  1. Hi Melinda, your words were meant for me this morning. I'm printing them out to have on hand as a reminder! God has me writing on a different topic, one that encourages Christians to take an active role in the health. It addresses the obesity and poor health status within the church due to our own food choices, overeating (gluttony), and lifestyle habits. Not an easy topic, but it's very overlooked and rarely mentioned. It's not a matter of size - It's a matter of stewardship and obedience and God reminds me that if it can save even one life, isn't it worth it? The book will release next year after 5 years of writing it, and I expect backlash in spite of great attempts to focus equally on truth and grace. Thank you for your words this morning which have blessed me.

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    1. Well done, good and faithful servant! You wrote what the Lord gave you to write. May the Lord bless you for it! I always wait on the Lord for the content I share here each first Friday of the month. He knows who will read and what kind of encouragement is needed. I'm grateful to him for leading me to write this, because it resulted in you being uplifted in your task. Praise the Lord!

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  2. Hi Melinda, this post is so powerful!

    It reminds me of a verse that I was meditating on yesterday:

    “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel [that tells the good news of salvation through faith in Christ], so we speak, not as [if we were trying] to please people [to gain power and popularity], but to please God who examines our hearts [expecting our best].” (‭‭1 THESSALONIANS‬ ‭2:4‬ ‭AMP)

    To try to please men is a snare to our faith. I pray that we as a collective body of Christ will have the courage to proclaim the words that God wants to be spoken for such a time as this!

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    1. Milton, I so agree. We need to rely on the Lord for his leading for the words he wants us to proclaim. When we speak into culture and society's ills, we must hear Jesus first, so we know what he would have us say. God bless you as you write on!

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  3. I love the truth in your statement "God will use your words with the audience He intends." I keep writing knowing He has a plan for the words He provides.

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    1. Yes, It's so important to keep that in mind. As you said, the Lord has a plan, and he provides the audience for the words!

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    2. So important! If writers follow those steps, it would add a lot of sanity to some of the heated discussions currently happening.

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  4. Wise words, Melinda. Love the very first step to make sure of our calling. While the church is imperfect, the world continues to watch how we react and respond. Your insight is the best way to move forward.

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    1. So important! If we would pause to follow those steps, we'd find far less volatile discussions in the public forum, and we'd give space for the other to hear our words and to respond.

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  5. "God will use your words with the audience he intends." I need to remind myself of that often. Great post, Melinda!

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    1. It's a key for me, too. As one friend puts it: Obedience to our calling is an imperative, but results are not guaranteed. They're in the Lord's hands.

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  6. God will use your words with the audience He intends...... HE intends, not me! Also, your line saying "Others are already thinking, speaking, and writing the same things. In fact, this is yet another confirmation. You are not alone." is so encouraging as well. The topics you listed are so easy to avoid, but sin thrives in the dark and the enemy is COUNTING on us not talking about any of those so he can continue doing his work there in the dark. Thanks for this super encouraging post!

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    1. Paul, you're writing about another of the topics confronting the church that I could have listed. When we're writing into that need, it's so easy to think that not only are we responsible for saying what the Lord wants us to say, but that we're also responsible for the outcome. Only the Holy Spirit can do that part. Look at the OT prophets. Rarely did the people respond as I'm sure those prophets hoped. Jonah wasn't too happy, I'm sure you remember. Lack of response does not mean we failed. If we obeyed, the outcome will be of the Lord.

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  7. What a welcome encouragement. Most of us, if we're doing this right, don't write as much from our biases or opinions as we do from the prompting of the Spirit. And that's when arrogance turns to love and empathy. I wrote a blog for my church once and I wrestled with them to keep the message strong. It was written to men who don't read subtleties. They need to be told what to do and what to correct. Long story short, my blog got posted but was not advertised. The few who did read it, were encouraged. Thank you for spurring us along to deliver the loving truth of God.

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    1. Well done! You followed the Lord's leading. You wrote what he gave you to say in the way you knew it needed to be said. The rest is up to the Lord. Everything, including the lack of advertisement, will be used by him in ways you may never know. The enemy can attack, but only as the Lord allows.

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  8. Thank you for putting so much thought and prayers into this difficult post. When calls us to write something, we must follow through no matter what. I appreciate you thought provoking blogs and keep it up.

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    1. Thanks, Yvonne. I feel the same when I read you! The fellowship of other writers is an important component at Seriously Write. We need one another to share the burden!

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  9. God commands us to speak the truth in love. A difficult, but necessary, balance of looking to be loving as we say things that have the potential to offend.

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    1. So very true, Nancy! You always do that very well. I love reading your content.

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  10. Our pastor recently preached a sermon called The Spiritual Practice of Remaining Uncomfortable. Of course, this will vary for all of us but I so needed to hear that following our calling isn't always going to be comfortable. I think there's a deep sense of peace but not necessarily comfort. Thank you for this powerful reminder!

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    1. I love the way you put that! It is uncomfortable! But it's essential that we learn to remain in that place of discomfort. The Lord has led us there.

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  11. Will their ears hear it? Maybe yes. Maybe no. That's so powerful. I've been reminding myself that I can only do what God has called me to do. It's not my job to open ears or hearts. That's his job and his alone. Mine is just to be faithful to saying what he is laying on my heart. Thank you for reaffirming and encouraging us through your words. I especially loved the checklist of things we need to do. Yes! Pray for wisdom. Repent from hypocrisy. Ask God to purify our hearts. I'm bookmarking this post for when I need encouragement, which is often!

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    1. Stephanie, thank you! Studying the apostles and the prophets and reading their words and their reactions is a great schoolhouse for us modern-day prophets! You're a superb writer. I'm glad I could offer you encouragement today.

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