You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God, we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. – 1 Thessalonians 2:1-2
Strong opposition. This afternoon I watched a couple of videos of people being harassed because they were unwilling to raise their fist in the air in solidarity with a group of protesters. With a crowd encircling them, these individuals refused to comply. At the end of one of the videos, one masked woman stood inches away from the woman and shouted a question, asking if she was a Christian? Whether you agree with their stance or not, you should be able to appreciate their courage in the midst of the mob.
At the risk of imprisonment (again), Paul was more than willing to spread the message of the Gospel. The translation above described his courage as he “dared” to speak the Gospel.
While I was not at risk of any real danger, I am reminded of a conversation with a woman who consistently challenged the resurrection of Christ, referring to it as a myth similar to a resurrection myth from a sect in her religion. She loved the moral teachings of Christ, but she cannot accept His supernatural claims.
While I am surely not as bold or as well-equipped as Paul, I challenged her to consider the entire character of Jesus expressed in all of the Gospels: that the ascension of Christ was absolutely necessary for the Christian. It was a friendly conversation, but it was not always comfortable. Often it is easier to just smile and change the subject. We miss opportunities, but we have a great honor and a responsibility to proclaim the Gospel in a world that is more and more often less than friendly to our point of view.
Like Paul, we all have places where we can speak, not boast like politicians just trying to win an argument. Let us look for opportunities to win and persuade others by simply proclaiming the Truth through God’s Spirit with pure motives like Paul.