Is there a valid place among us for apologies, restraint, caution? Obviously, yes. Indeed, it is mystifying how rarely we, who say we value repentance, repent and back up and correct our wrongs and reconcile with one another. But that is not my concern in this post.
In this post my concern is the opposite. When we are serving the Lord, following his call on our lives, doing the obviously right and biblical and Christ-honoring thing, advancing the gospel, we can be wrongly hesitant, timid, apologetic. But the apostolic church was bold. In fact, the key word in Acts chapter 4 is “boldness” (verses 13, 29, 31). Those stalwarts were a force to be reckoned with, for the Lord’s sake.
Some of us should resolve, by God’s grace, that in 2019 we will quit apologizing and serve him boldly. We have been intimidated too long, knocked back on our heels too long, perhaps even cowardly. But we don’t have to stay that way.
Here is an illustration of what our needed change can look like, from the life of Winston Churchill. He took up painting—of all things—for personal renewal amid his demanding responsibilities. At first, it was hard for him to throw himself into it. Something held him back. Then a friend, Hazel Lavery, herself a painter, visited Churchill one day while he was at his easel. Here is what happened, beginning with his visitor’s exclamation:
“‘Painting! But what are you hesitating about? Let me have a brush—the big one.’ Then, Churchill recalled, ‘Splash into the turpentine, wallop into the blue and white, frantic flourish on the palette—clean no longer—then several large, fierce strokes and slashes of blue on the absolutely cowering canvas. Anyone could see that it could not hit back. No evil fate avenged the jaunty violence.’ Lady Lavery had done her work well. ‘The canvas grinned in helplessness before me,’ Churchill wrote. ‘The spell was broken. The sickly inhibitions rolled away. I seized the largest brush and fell upon my victim with berserk fury. I have never felt in awe of a canvas since.'”
Martin Gilbert: Churchill: A Life (New York, 1991), pages 322-323.
Quit apologizing for serving the Lord. Go boldly into 2019. Paint onto its canvas what the gospel demands. It awaits your strokes.