Finally! I said the right thing!

I had the delightful experience last week of finally saying the right thing at the right moment. I want to tell you how sweet and wonderful such a thing is because I’m sure, like myself, you also have struggled with trying to find the right words when you need them and to speak up at the right moment. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in the setting of silver.” It’s a sweet and fine thing.

Here is what happened. I’m in Mexico City. Part of our time in Mexico was to meet with key leaders, people who have influence over many other leaders, and, in this case, we were sitting down with a man who actually has influence over leaders throughout all of the Latin American countries. This was probably among the most significant events in our recent travels to Mexico and teaching our four questions that answer the crisis of abortion with the Gospel of Life. It’s a very important meeting.

As it typically happens, leaders are very resistant to talk about abortion. They don’t preach or teach about it because they see it through a political lens. They’re concerned about responses from their church, or in many cases, abortion is still very personal to them given their own life story. They just don’t know how to find the strength and the courage to talk about it. Therefore they’re reluctant to have us come in and talk about it as well with any kind of network of churches. It’s very typical for us to go into a meeting with key leaders and to be overwhelmed with politeness (which is not exactly what you’re after) and a kind of a spirit of caution and resistance at the same time (never wanting to really reveal what their concerns are). You can feel it weighing in the room.

When we were at this meeting last week, my co-worker, Jeannie Purnia, was there and she was talking about abortion in Cuba and throughout Latin America and giving her own testimony about how she once ran an abortion business and then God used her to open a pregnancy center in her old abortion business. Of course, the conversion of the building becomes a metaphor for the real transformation that God has done in her heart. It’s a very powerful story and it does lower resistance and defenses which starts to open up the heart. But still, in this case, you could just see there was a distraction in the room.

We also had a pastor from Cuba and any Latin America leader knows the problems that the church faces in Cuba. Yet this pastor, Sandy, who now works with PassionLife in Cuba, was testifying to how churches across the island were breaking their silence and were beginning to understand abortion as a biblical issue. He spoke about how the Bible has a lot to say about the shedding of innocent blood and described how excited the church was as they began to rescue mothers and couples from abortion. Again, very positive words, but still a lot of caution and resistance.

I sat there and just kept waiting and I had something I wanted to share, but I wasn’t sure if I should say it. I would tell myself, “John, wait. Just wait. Pray, ask for discernment, ask for wisdom.” While everybody else was talking and interacting, I kept mulling over my thoughts about what I should say. And finally there was a good moment and where I went for it and I spoke up. Then everything in the room changed as a result of it. His interest level increased.

Right before I spoke, another co-worker came into the room and then the man’s demeanor changed with his level of interest becoming much higher. This changed the dynamics in that meeting. They began to ask more questions. They began to look for opportunities where we might help them train more leaders in how to respond well to abortion and lead the church of our generation to respond to the shedding of innocent blood in a way that saves the innocent and brings good news to the guilty. This is our passion at PassionLife.

Everything changed, and after the meeting, several of my co-workers said, “John, you changed everything when you said what you said.” Of course, I was a little delighted and humble because so many times you’re always struggling with what you want or should say. “I wish I would’ve said this. I could have said this. I ought to have said that.” Most times we can’t find the right words at the moment maybe because of nerves or pressure or fear. Who knows what. I think it’s worth praying about discerning, asking for wisdom, finding your courage and speaking up when it’s necessary. I got a little taste of that last week in Mexico and I think it’s going to lead to some really good things, and I just wanted to share it with you today.