Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13, NASV
The other day, the world watched in horror as we received the news that a beautiful, 14 year old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, was gunned down at point blank range by the Taliban. Her crime? She was determined to receive an education, strongly voiced that all girls should have the opportunity to receive an education and her refusal to be silenced. She proclaimed boldly that women have a right to learn, grow, be free, voice their opinions, express their displeasures, and declare their disdain for the atrocities happening to women who would not remain in “their place.”
Malala has given the world a gift. Malala treated all women and girls as “friends” as she fearlessly declared the importance of females having a voice. Fully aware of the dangers associated with such a bold stance – she stood anyway, effectively laying down her life. She has deactivated the proverbial “mute” button and released the voices of a chorus of women, men, girls, and boys who stand against the evils of terrorism and declared – WE WILL NOT REMAIN SILENT! It is only by God’s grace and miracle that she has survived to this point. Her resiliency has baffled the most gifted surgeons. Only God could have sustained her life after the devastation of a gunshot wound directly to her head.
While most of us will never face a literal Taliban or gunshot wound to our heads, many women have wrestled against various kinds of terrorism that have stripped them of their voices. Some have been raised in violent homes – physical and verbal – homes that have muted their voices for decades. Some have been terrorized by prejudice, being made to feel “less than,” their voices muted by the pain of ostracism, rejection, criticism and hatred. Some have been terrorized right in the church – rebuked for daring to declare that God has called them to preach!
Terrorism, however, cannot thrive when voices refuse to remain silent. Sometimes it takes the voice of one who will defy the threats, defy the fear, defy even the attacks that are sure to come – one who will say, “even if you kill me, 10,000 more will rise and declare WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED!”
Use your voice for deliverance. Use your voice to set captives free. Use your voice to defy the terrorism that seeks to strip, rape and rob you and others of God's gift to all - the right to pursue life in the broadest terms. If we will do these things, terrorism will not prevail.
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Until next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris