When I first heard the quote, “Something true when whispered may become false when shouted…” (Kierkegaard) I was intrigued.
I had obviously known about the importance of form and presentation; my major is all about visually and technically expressing whatever emerges from a client’s mind.
But, when you really think about it, the way we present ourselves orally and spiritually effects those around us in an profound way.
For instance, picture a child receiving an irate lecture from his worked up father; what’s the look on his face? Does he feel respected? Does he feel loved? Now, contrast that image with that of a child wrapped in his mothers arms, silently listening as she sings him to sleep. What does he feel now?
Think about the words, “I love you.” When whispered between lovers under the canvas of a starry night, the words become intimate, they take on a deeper meaning. But if the lead singer of a heavy metal band were to scream them into a crowd, would they be different?
Presentation is everything, isn’t it?
Just as our presentation of words and expressions help those around us know what we’re really feeling about them, the way we express ourselves also helps them know what we really believe.
And in this day in age it’s often really hard to express beliefs and share opinions without offending. There’s so much to share, and with the technology of our time, there are so many ways to share it.
But, remember… presentation.
A man in my congregation said it well, and I paraphrase:
Sharing our beliefs, sharing goodness, is like sharing a piece of chocolate cake. Quite frankly, the gospel of Christ is one of the most delectable cakes that’s ever been baked. And though it will taste the same and have the same basic ingredients no matter how you feed it to someone, would they be more likely to accept it and enjoy it with you if you: 1. Took a giant handful of frosted goodness and catapulted it toward their face in hopes that a succulent piece landed in their mouth, or 2. Carefully served them a slice on a decorative plate, accompanied by a glass of milk?
Should we avoid stating what we truly believe simply because we might offend someone? No. That’s not what I’m trying to say. But I hope we realize that “throwing our cake” into a crowd is often much less intimate and much less effective than sharing a piece with a close friend.
So next time we feel like we need to shout to be heard over the roar of the world, I’d invite each of us to remember those at our side; to have the courage to whisper the truths we hold dear, and to multiply goodness in a way that will bring them closer to Jesus Christ.