Near the top of the list of commercials that send me reaching for the remote are those where the person on camera feels the need to yell at me. Sometimes yelling at me is a good thing. If, for instance, someone saw me about to step within striking distance of a poisonous snake, yelling at me would be welcome. But yelling to warn me that I might suffer life-long regret if I don’t run out today and buy that new car, or appliance, or mattress, or those trendy new sneakers just isn’t the same thing. Having said all that, I have to admit that whether I like it or not, turning up the volume can sometimes be quite effective.
Shouting Draws Attention ~
Clearly, there’s a wide range of motivations that prompt people to turn up the volume on their voices, but they share a common denominator. The decision to raise our voices is driven by a desire to attract attention. Shouting is simply taking a normal means of expression and making it more difficult to ignore. The Scriptures are full of examples of people raising their voices, and show that the desire for attention generally falls within several categories:
- Being loud can be used to draw attention to one’s self. Like the adulterous woman Solomon warned about:
In the twilight, in the evening, In the black and dark night. And there a woman met him, With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. She was loud and rebellious, Her feet would not stay at home. Proverbs 7:9-11 (NKJV)
- Shouting can add emphasis to a specific message. God apparently had that in mind at one point when He commanded Isaiah to turn up the volume on his preaching:
Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. Isaiah 58:1 (NKJV)
- Sometimes the force of powerful internal feelings won’t allow quiet expression, as one of the lepers Jesus healed demonstrated:
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God. Luke 17:15 (NKJV)
- Shouting can also be an effective mechanism for directing attention to someone else. The crowd surrounding Jesus on “Palm Sunday” were classic examples of that:
Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen. Luke 19:37 (NKJV)
Our culture is being permeated with worldviews, lifestyles, and attitudes that God condemns, and the proponents seem to be getting louder all the time. They’re also demonstrating that getting louder can mean more than just increasing the auditory volume. It can also mean that there’s a ramped-up level of emotional intensity in the delivery of their message, and maybe a dramatic increase in the ways and number of times their destructive concepts are presented. Every day those holding traditional, Biblical values are being shouted down in a dozen ways. To say the very least, it’s time for followers of Jesus to push back and turn up the volume of our message.
Shouting Isn’t Just Vocal ~
That doesn’t mean that we should return to the days before churches discovered microphones and sound systems that can rattle the windows in houses half a block away. Yelling by itself won’t make the gospel more believable. Maybe there’s a better way to send out a message that’s hard to ignore.
Jesus didn’t have a megaphone to blare out a message about compassion, but Mark reminds us that He had something better (Mark 1:40-45). On a dusty street in a nondescript Judean town, a socially isolated, medically hopeless, and spiritually unclean leper knelt at His feet begging for help. Jesus didn’t raise His voice and preach a message of hope. He only spoke a handful of words, but as He reached out His hand to touch the untouchable and heal the incurable, the heavens reverberated with the message of love that transcends every human boundary.
Shouting is sometimes a mechanism used to highlight our appreciation or adoration for someone else. In this instance, Luke records such an event, but the shouting is visual, not vocal (Luke 7:36-48). The woman in the story may not have said a word as she slipped into the room where Jesus was, much less shouted about anything. She just slipped in quietly behind Him, broke a bottle of very expensive perfume, and anointed Jesus’ head with it. As tears of gratitude dripped from her eyes, she knelt at His feet and used her tears to wash His feet. There was no noise or fanfare as she dried them with her hair, but the sound of adoration has thundered across the world for more than two thousand years.
Another story with loud implications involved another unnamed, desperate woman (Matthew 9:20-26). She quietly fought her way through an inconsiderate crowd that was pushing and shoving in an effort to get close to Jesus. No one could tell that she had two struggles going on. The crowd pressing against her on the outside was nothing compared to the wrestling match going on underneath. Reason was shouting that what she wanted was a fantasy that could never happen, but hope and faith shouted louder and declared that Jesus could make the impossible, possible. No one saw her trembling hand as it reached out to brush the edge of His garment. Nobody shouted about what happened that day, but the power of hope and faith has overcome the noise of doubt and confusion in every generation since.
We don’t need to get into a shouting match with our spiritual adversaries. Jesus gave us a much more effective alternative. He taught us how to love louder than the world can hate. He showed us that we can turn up the volume on our hope until it overcomes the noise of anxiety and despair. His Spirit equips us to believe with such intense confidence that impossible things happen. The gospel gets loud when we live it out in real life, and you know that when things get loud, people start paying attention.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to Tweet & Share from the pull quotes below. Each quote links directly back to this article through Twitter.
- “As (Jesus) reached out His hand to touch the untouchable and heal the incurable, the heavens reverberated with the message of love that transcends every human boundary.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “As tears of gratitude dripped from her eyes, she knelt at (Jesus’) feet and used her tears to wash His feet, drying them with her hair . . . The sound of adoration continues to thunder across the world more than two thousand years later.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “(Jesus) taught us how to love louder than the world can hate. He showed us that we can turn up the volume on our hope until it overcomes the noise of anxiety and despair.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “(The Holy Spirit) equips us to believe with such intense confidence that impossible things happen. The gospel gets loud when we live it out in real life, and you know that when things get loud, people start paying attention.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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