When the kids were small, my husband and I always told them to speak up for themselves and others if mistreated. Speaking up and speaking out for what is right not only makes you strong in the face of adversity, it forces you to own what you believe. I used to tell my children that they must speak up for themselves or people will believe that they are not worth treating well. If you won’t speak up for yourself – then why should they? At the same time, I also told them to speak up for others who were being bullied or were too afraid to speak for themselves.
In truth, I didn’t actually care if it was strictly biblical to stand up for yourself, but I reasoned that it must be because If God values us, then we must be in the right to value ourselves as well. While I read about turning the other cheek and speaking calmly or not at all when in anger, I still didn’t take it to mean that it was wrong for Christians to defend themselves. In fact, Jesus admonished his followers to defend the widowed, fatherless, and poor. So it only stood to reason that you should speak up for yourself.
I don’t know how many times I’ve read the passage in Acts 16 – in any event, it’s been a lot. So when I saw that Paul and Silas spoke up for themselves in such a strong, determined manner – I was surprised I’d never noticed it before. When the authorities learned that they were Roman citizens and had been beaten and jailed without trial, they tried to release them from prison quietly. Paul, however, would not accept that at all. In effect, he tells them that not only did they embarrassed them in front of the city despite being citizens, they now wanted to sweep it all under the rug by releasing them in private. Paul says – no way! If you want to release us – do it yourself! And, because they spoke up for themselves, they were treated well, escorted out, and they worked overtime to try to appease them.
Speak Up For Jesus!
The coolest thing I realized is that when you have practice speaking up for yourself – you learn that it’s not so hard to speak up for Jesus too.
Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.