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  • Chad DeCleene

Declare These Things

Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. Titus 2:15

Are we willing to declare the truth of God’s Word? This is something I have been challenged with recently. I had the opportunity to attend a local library meeting where there was discussion of whether or not to restrict or remove a book with explicit sexual images.

To be honest this was the first library meeting I had ever been to. I’ve come a long ways from my college years where my best friend and I had a pact that if we ever saw the other one in the library we had to physically pull them out. Oddly enough, I don’t think it ever happened, as I didn’t spend a lot of time in the library, and neither did he. But that’s beside the point. I wasn’t sure how the meeting would go, and when we got there it had already started. People had signed up to speak. In the 40 minutes we were there only one person had a concern with the book. I did not speak at this meeting as I had missed the sign up, but I could have asked to talk at the end. I rationalized why I didn’t speak up, but in the end it was because I wasn’t sure what to do and took the easy way out.

This missed opportunity sat heavy with me. In my silence, I may have appeared to be in agreement with those who were advocating for this book. I also had an opportunity to speak truth and did not take it. After the meeting, I went up and talked to some on the board, and we found out we could send letters in to express our concern. My wife and I took the opportunity to do so and found out there would be another meeting the following week.

This time I came to the meeting prepared to speak. This meeting was about double in size and included many faces of people I recognized from the community. As people took their turns speaking I realized that no one else, outside of the woman who requested the review of this book, was going to speak against the book. There were 2 of us out of 20 speakers who raised concerns. It was an unnerving experience speaking to a room full of people who disagreed with me. The nerves were far different than getting up to preach. In preaching a majority of the audience is there because they want to hear God’s word. At this meeting the majority wanted nothing to do with God’s Word or objections to the book. However, God gave grace and boldness to allow me to speak truth. While the board decided to keep the book without restrictions, which was disappointing, truth was shared.

Why do I share this story since we didn’t it get the result we wanted? I share it for a couple of reasons. First, we need to be ready to declare God’s Word. His Word is truth. When Paul encouraged Titus to declare these things, he was referencing the previous verses where he laid out the gospel and how we are to live (Titus 2:11-14). I would encourage you to read those verses today. We need to exhort, teach, and proclaim this message boldly. As I shared, I did not take my first opportunity, and it was only by God’s grace that I was given another chance. I need to be ready in all situations to speak.

The second reason I share it is to encourage you to be bold. We face constant pressure from the world to keep our beliefs silent. Do not let the pressure of our society keep you silent. As Paul told Titus in the verses above, “let no one disregard you.” If we stay silent, we are not even giving the world a chance to disregard God’s Word. We need to speak as God gives opportunity. We can share God’s Word with confidence because its authority is not found in us but in Him.

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