As we put 2009 to bed, my thoughts turn to congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina, who on Sept. 9 cried out "You lie!" in the middle of a packed Congress---rather than at his television set or in his car like other people did.
It reminds me of how my husband got himself kicked out of seminary in 1976, when, in a large assembly, he stood up and respectfully corrected the president of the school for a misleading statement about Korea that my Korean-born future husband would be in a position to know the facts about. Later that day, when Young returned to his dorm room, he found his name taken off the door.
Which in turn reminds me of my friend Bob, who in 1975, as he was the person in charge of putting verses on the outdoor church sign every week, posted Romans 2:24: "For as it is written, 'The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." His was a sleepy and affluent Cape Cod town, where everyone was a Christian and all the children were above average. The pastor peremptorily declined that bit of Pauline exhortation, and my friend lost standing.
Which in turn reminds me of the time Paul the apostle was constrained to rebuke Peter for a bit of hypocrisy. And as a matter of fact he did in front of everybody (Galatians 2:14).
It's hard, isn't it, to know when to speak out and when to hold one's peace; when to confront publicly and when to confront privately; when boldness is godliness, and when it is "inappropriateness"? There are many times I wish I has spoken a truth and not erred on the side of appropriateness (or cowardice). The more water that goes under the bridge, the more I wish I had feared God rather than man.
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