If you were at church on Sunday you would have heard me confess that I have a real fear of snakes. Last year during a vacation in Costa Rica we hiked the mountain ridges of the Cloud Forest. It was really quite beautiful. However, after the hike we stopped into a reptile habitat. That was my first mistake. To my astonishment we learned that Costa Rica is home to 139 species of snakes, 22 of which are venomous and many of them were crawling around the forest we just hiked through. I was completely creeped out! I couldn’t totally relax the rest of our time there. I hate snakes.
My fear of snakes began when I was a young girl visiting my family in India. I might have been 6 or 7 years old. I had just come out of my room to a covered outdoor path leading to the main part of my grandparents' grand home. The door behind me shut and I began on the path when I heard a “hiss”. To my left, between the path and the exterior wall of the building, was the largest snake I have ever seen, to this day. It wasn’t just any snake, it was a cobra!
It heard me coming and it was reared up with its hood extended. I was terrified. I immediately did what any little six year old girl might do, I screamed.
“SANP! SANP!”, (snake in Hindi).
Just then my uncle leaped out of nowhere with a cricket bat and beat the snake dead.
Now I know that some of you may read this and say it was wrong to kill the snake, saying, “It’s one of God's creations!” or “It’s not politically correct to kill a snake."
What I find interesting is how this notion of being politically correct has creeped into the church world as well. We might say, "I don't want to offend anybody so I don't want to speak too boldly about my faith". As a result, one of the most common mindsets in the church world today is, “I am going to let my life be a witness." It is the sense of letting our life and good actions speak for themselves.
Don’t get me wrong, that is great. But there are times when we need to let our words be a witness as well. Sometimes we need to speak boldly.
So what if you came to India with me. I know we don’t have to go that far to see a venomous snake but I am in denial that such snakes are in Ontario. Denial.
Okay, so we are in India and we are walking along and I see a Cobra and I just step out of the way of the snake's path. What am I doing? I'm letting my life be a witness to you.
But what if you didn’t notice my actions or, worse yet, the deadly cobra and you got in its way? Guess what? You ain’t leaving India, if you know what I mean.
Wouldn’t it be more loving if I not only let my life be a witness, but my words too? I think you would agree that it would be more loving for me to boldly say to you, SNAKE! Then, my uncle would leap in with a few cricket bats and we’d beat the snake down together.
People should see in us our love and obedience to God. Our lives should be a witness, but there are also times when we have to speak boldly to keep people out of harm's way and lead them into a better way of life. As we have been talking about in our series, boldness is behaviour born out of a belief and we speak boldly about what we believe deeply!
Join us this Sunday, Thanksgiving Sunday, as we conclude our four-week series called Extraordinary Boldness. We have so much to be grateful for! Bring your friends and family as we thank the Giver of all!