What do you do for a living? Are you a stay at home mom? Are you a full time employee at a big business? Or, are you a student just trying to make it to summer? Whatever you do, as a Christian, you are called to let your light shine before others. We are not supposed to hide what we know or shove it to the back of our minds. We are commanded by Jesus in his sermon on the Mount to shine our light--the knowledge of eternal life with Jesus.
Just recently, I heard of a situation where some people have been put down because of the way they look at the gym whether it be because they don't have the right outfit or they're overweight or their hair looks ridiculous, etc. How absurd?! First, why does it matter what you wear or what your hair looks like? You're sweating in the outfit anyways, right? And, you're hair is going to look wet after your workout if you sweat enough so why make it look nice in the beginning? This isn't a fashion show, it's people trying to be healthy which brings me to point number 2, why does it matter what someone weighs? They're at a gym for crying out loud! Don't you think they know they need to be healthy? That's why they're working out. So stop judging them and start encouraging them. It's a lot easier to do something when you have someone pushing you along.
So, maybe you aren't the person who is judging others at the gym. I'm certainly not. I encourage all my participants. I don't know where they used to be. I don't know what they used to weigh. In my mind, they're there and that's all that matters. I'm betting a lot of you agree with me on this. It's sad to see the few that do judge, but most of you reading this probably aren't the ones doing the judging at the gym.
BUT my mom once told me that if you sit back and do nothing, you're actually encouraging the bad behavior. It's important that we act/speak up. The verse I quoted above talks about letting your light shine and not hiding it. By not saying anything, we hide our light.
Other than the gym scenario, there are so many more, bigger scenario's in which we keep our mouth shut when we really ought to be standing up for people, Christ, and the church. Here's a scenario that I know I've been through and many of you have too: Someone comes up to you and starts bashing the music and the pastor at a church that you either attend or family attends or you have attended before. You get caught off guard and don't say anything because you don't want to "rock the boat" so to speak. By not saying anything, that person starts to think you agree. We can't let this keep happening.
I know that letting your light shine according to the verse is really talking about evangelizing and telling people about Jesus and I don't want to take that verse out of context, but it is important to think about situations in which we stay quiet when we need to start speaking up. In the situation where a friend judges someone at the gym, a simple, "Well, you don't know where they've come from. Maybe they just ran 5 miles and are taking it easy on the treadmill this time. Maybe they are just getting back into things after having a baby..." would help the situation. In the situation where someone talks bad about a church, responding with, "I bet the worship is great for some people to really feel the Holy Spirit and the pastor probably gets through to a lot more people than you think. Some people like that style," could be very beneficial.
What we say and don't say means everything and can turn an entire situation around. We are the light in this world and that means we must speak up even when it's uncomfortable and we don't want to. Keep this in mind the next time you hear a conversation that is less than uplifting. You can be the change this world needs so more people are encouraged instead of judged. By speaking up and encouraging someone, we are essentially letting our light shine and showing people that we are different by the way we let Jesus show us how to live our lives.