Recently I was sitting in a coffee shop quietly sipping on my latte and working on my sermon when three young people (probably in their twenties) came in. Other than one employee, we were the only four people there, and the employee was in the back of the store at that moment. I continued working, completely oblivious to their conversation…until their voices lowered. Why did they stop and whisper? Funny how we lower our voices because we don’t want people around us to hear, and yet that is the very thing that will get their attention!
The sudden quietness having broken my attention to my own work, my ears naturally tuned in, even though I really didn’t want to eavesdrop. Though I couldn’t hear very well, I did pick up a few words here and there, such as “Christian,” “prayer,” and “church.” I have no idea what their religious affiliation was, but the fact that they quieted down when the conversation turned to “Christianity” was no surprise. This is what usually happens when these discussions arise. What surprised me was that I was the only person there who could’ve possibly overheard their conversation, and yet they still decided to speak quietly. Why did they whisper?
Why did they not want me to hear a Christian conversation? Did they not want me to know about Christ? Did they not want me to be saved? Were they afraid of getting into a religious conversation that they were unwilling or unprepared to have? Were they afraid of some type of resulting persecution? Or were they just afraid to offend me? Whatever the case, I was just one person, and not a very scary one at that! Is this really what our society has come to, that if just one person is there then we can’t have a “Christian” conversation in public? Why whisper??
I don’t know the details as to why they didn’t want me to hear; but all these speculations seem to lead to one of two reasons: embarrassment or fear. I don’t know their religious convictions; but that isn’t the point. Members of the church are just as guilty of whispering the truth!
Why are we whispering? Are we too embarrassed to share our beliefs? Are we too afraid of not being able to defend those beliefs in the face of scrutiny? Or are we too scared of offending one person sitting alone in a coffee shop who might get offended at hearing our religious beliefs (even though the average non-Christian is usually more than willing to subject us to his immoral ideas without the least bit of concern for our convictions)? Why do we whisper?
Consider 2 Timothy 1:7-8,
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God…
If the reason we whisper is that we are unable to share/defend our beliefs, then we need to study the Bible more. If the answer is that we are unwilling to share/defend our beliefs, then we need to remember our purpose on earth (cf. Matt. 28:18-20). If the answer is that we’re afraid to offend someone who might overhear, then we need to stop living in fear, stop putting the feelings of others above the commands of God, and remind ourselves of Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Personally, I’m fed up with society’s unwritten rules for Christians. I’m not saying that those three young people had a responsibility to invite me into their conversation just because it was “Christian” related, or that we, as Christians, are required to raise our voices so everyone around can hear when we have a religious conversation in public. I’m saying that we shouldn’t feel required to whisper our beliefs so as not to offend anyone; we can be sure that nobody out there is walking on eggshells trying not to offend Christians…nor should they be. We still live in a country that affords us the freedom to be Christians and serve God in our everyday lives, even though these freedoms are being eroded every day. Let’s stop whispering!
Speak out, even in a personal conversation that happens to be taking place in public. We’ll probably find that, most of the time, nobody is going to be offended or even care. And we might just find someone who wants to know more! Let’s stop whispering!