I have not been to see the movie “Concussion,” but as a NFL fan, I have read several reviews. As many of you know the movie tells the story of how one medical Doctor was able to expose the hidden damage done to NFL football players due to concussions. When Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian physician, published his findings in a prestigious medical journal, he expected the NFL to be grateful. Rather than gratitude the NFL went after the Doctor both personally and professionally, causing much harm to his career and reputation. But his strong faith motivated him to press on. He prayed “Lord God Almighty, if this is not of your will, if I am on the wrong side, I pray you’d reveal it to me.” Interestingly, Omalu’s full name in his native Ibo language means “he who knows, must speak.”
“He who knows, must speak,” seems to me an appropriate challenge for men who read this blog. I thought of I Peter 3:14, “Don’t fear what they fear; don’t be disturbed. Sanctify the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always by ready to make a reply to anyone who asks you to explain the hope that is in you. Do it, though, with gentleness and respect.” (Wright). Another translation reads, “give a quiet and reverent answer” (Phillips). The Message tells us to speak, “with the utmost courtesy.”
We live in a time when being a witness for the Lord Jesus is not an easy proposition, especially if you happen to be a white evangelical male. In general, God talk is fine, but there is less tolerance in speaking the name of Jesus. The cultural narrative has become decidedly negative towards any expression of Jesus as Lord. However, due to our cultural confusion and ignorance of the gospel story, a clear, positive and convincing witness of the name of Jesus is more imperative then ever. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). It is my contention that a witness of the Lord Jesus expressed in “gentleness and respect,” showing genuine courtesy can make an impact in the lives of a doubting culture. But be warned – our witness as men who are sincere followers of Jesus will have limited influence if it is not done in a respectful and reverent manner
This does not mean that we should shy away from bearing witness to Jesus. But we will need to continually monitor the attitude and spirit in which we speak of Jesus. For as the Phillips translation puts it, “You need neither fear men’s threats nor worry about them; simply concentrate on being completely devoted to Christ in your hearts.” In all encounters be devoted to Jesus. So my encouragement to the readers of this blog is to simply be themselves as followers of Jesus. Each will have a unique story to tell about the presence of Jesus in their lives. Above all else, do not shy away from speaking about Jesus. When you are asked, speak of Jesus. “Always be ready to make a reply to anyone who asks you to explain the hope that is in you.” Simply tell the story of Jesus presence in your life.
Let every man today be encouraged in their personal witness. Through all the negativity you will face as a follower of Jesus, simply focus on Jesus as Lord, and speak of Him. He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. This we know; so we must speak of the name of Jesus.