Our biggest problems in life are usually caused by speaking when we should have been quiet. On the other hand, there are times we should speak that we do not, times we get a case of spiritual laryngitis. The more I think about it, the more I realize that my only motivation for having kept quiet at those times was fear.
We preach to our young people about peer pressure, encouraging them to speak up about friends doing wrong, about believing unpopular beliefs, or to simply stand up for those everyone else is picking on as if these were easy things to do. Do we do any better when certain subjects arise among our own peers? Is it so easy to risk losing a friend, losing a sale, losing status in the community, losing the good opinion of people we want to impress? No, we don’t do any better most of the time. We are just as afraid to speak out as our children are.
The thing we need to convince our young people of—and ourselves—is that we are afraid of the wrong thing. With knowledge comes responsibility.
If I see you about to do something I know will hurt you and do not say anything, I am guilty of hurting you as much as if I did that hurtful thing to you myself. If I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Ezek 3:18.
If I fail to tell others that I am a Christian, if, like Peter during Jesus’ trial, I am afraid of the consequences that might bring me, I have denied my Lord, Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven, Matt 10:32,33.
If I see a wrong and fail to speak out, I am nothing more than a coward. I have become a friend of the unjust man rather than a champion of his victim, and will be included in his curse. (Prov 29:24.)
Truly, fear gives you spiritual laryngitis. It totally disables you. You become useless to the Lord. That is the thing you should fear more than anything else.
What I tell you in the darkness, speak it in the light; and what you hear in the ear, proclaim upon the house-tops. And be not afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell, Matt 10:27, 28.