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barking dogsIf I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” I Corinthians 13:1 “…enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” Acts 4:29

It was another beautiful morning for a walk on the trail. Alot of people were out walking their dogs. I guess that’s why I heard so many other dogs barking. You know the type. They make a lot of noise and sound brave as they bark at you from behind their safe fenced in yard. But they have no real impact on what happens on the trail. They are nothing but an amusing and sometimes annoying distraction.

Too often, we (I am including myself in this) are like those barking dogs on the side of the trail. We make a lot of noise from behind the safety of our church walls. We sound brave as we proclaim God’s truth loudly to one another about what is going on outside the walls. But while desperately trying to make our point, we actually make nothing but noise. We have little impact. To the world around us we are just an amusing and sometimes annoying distraction.

I’m not suggesting that we go outside the walls and continue to bark loudly. J I am suggesting we go outside the walls and speak boldly. Boldness and compassion are not mutually exclusive. At least they do not have to be. Our greatest historical heroes were known for being both bold and compassionate. When you think of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, do you think of them as people who minced words? Hardly.  They are known for their bold stands, bold statements, and bold lives. They are also known for their great compassion. They not only spoke of love they loved through their actions.

And then there is Jesus, our precious Savior. Was Jesus compassionate? Immeasurably. Did Jesus boldly proclaim God’s truth? Absolutely. If we are to be like Christ, we must do the same.

We must not be silent. But we must not simply bark loudly behind our safe walls. We should step out on the trail and engage others. We should speak boldly – we need not make apology for the truth of God’s Word. Our lives should mirror our words – the world needs to know we Believe what we say. And we must speak with great compassion, for love is the most eloquent language God has given to man. May we learn to stop our incessant barking, to step out and engage our lost world, and to speak love’s language as we communicate His truth.

Photo credit: Sri Lankan Photos / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA