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“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” (Proverbs 31:8 NIV)

Speak for those who can’t.

In this year of mayhem, plenty of people had a lot to say.  Those are not the people who need help speaking up for themselves.  People we need to speak for are those who genuinely need help.  Kind-hearted people are taken advantage of because they cannot say no.  Uneducated people are taken advantage of because they don’t know any better.  Desperate people will do anything for love, not realizing, love isn’t what they are receiving.

One place I worked had a motto, “Don’t say no for them.”   In other words, when asking someone to volunteer, don’t assume they will say no.  I agree you shouldn’t think people will say no, but sometimes you shouldn’t ask.  Not asking someone to do something is a way to speak up for them.  People that have boundary issues and can’t say no need help saying no.

If you care about the people around you, you will know those who can’t speak up for themselves.

Pay attention.

Notice the people around you.  Look at how they react in certain situations.  Watch for their facial expressions.  Typically, people do not tell you they need you to speak up for them.  Why?  Because they are afraid to speak up. 

When I was a young store manager, I was training a new assistant.  She was younger than me, barely twenty years old.  Trying to prepare her for rude customers, we were role-playing scenarios.  In this particular situation, I was acting out a customer grumpy about a return, really cranky.  My acting skills are better than I realized because, at the end of our training session, I had the poor girl in tears.  She couldn’t verbalize that I was pushing too hard.  I wasn’t paying attention to her body language to realize I needed to back off. 

Each of us is fragile.  For Christmas this year, I gave away crystal angels.  The delicate bodies break easily.   A few of them, I mailed to their recipients.  As I wrapped the tiny glass figures in bubble wrap and tissue, I prayed they would arrive safely to their destination, not a wing broken. The delicate figurine’s fragility reminded me how quickly life could shatter.  One moment in time can devastate the lives we have forever.  When someone’s world shatters, they need protection. 

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2 NIV)

Speaking up for others in love is helping them carry their burdens.  Jesus spoke for all of us on the cross.  When we protect those who can’t speak for themselves, we’re like Jesus.

Stand in the gap for people.  Protect them with your words.

Question of the Day:

Who can you protect today by speaking up for them?

Further Reading:Zechariah 14:1-21 NIV, Revelation 20:1-15 NIV, Psalm 148:1-14 NIV, Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV

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