– by Mhairi Jackson
Two years ago, on an October afternoon, I walked into my philosophy discussion class at university. The tutor put up one word on the board: Euthanasia. Our class discussion was going to be on whether or not it was moral for people to have an assisted death. Seen the movie Me Before You? We were going right to the heart of that.
I knew I had to stand up for what I felt was the right thing, but it was terrifying. There were 15 people who voted “for” the legalisation of euthanasia in the class. There was 1 person who voted against. Guess who? Yep. Me. My argument was that life was a sacred thing given to us, and that humans shouldn’t have the authority to decide where and when they were going to end it. But I was completely out-argued by this class for my “religious” reasoning and mocked for my ignorant view of the world.
To be honest, I don’t really remember what I said. All I knew was that taking life was wrong, so I just kept sticking to that one mantra and tried to defend it from all the opposing views. I probably didn’t word my arguments well; I didn’t have a ton of facts to back up my points. At the end of the class I went home and cried. It felt like a defeat.
You see, when I picture “defenders of the faith”, I think of women who were bold, courageous, who didn’t take no for an answer. They were warriors, or missionaries, or doctors. I am none of those things, clearly! In this class I didn’t win everyone over. But maybe that wasn’t the point. I think that when God calls us to defend the faith, it doesn’t automatically mean that we’ll convince everyone of our perspective. Maybe the important thing is just that we are able to speak out. I realised that God is still calling me to be a defender, to speak up for the faith when the moment calls for it, even if I don’t win the debate.
God doesn’t expect us to stand out just on our own strength. If he wants you to defend the faith, he’ll give you the grace and courage in that moment to speak out. All we need to do is keep coming to him everyday and asking for that grace. It seems like a scary thing at first, but God is a patient teacher. He won’t put you in a life or death situation straight away – but he might work through a conversation you have with a friend or a teacher.
In Matthew’s gospel, when Jesus sends out the 12 disciples to go and preach to the surrounding towns, he instructs them saying:
Matthew 10: 19-20
“But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
God will speak through us, if we give him the opportunity. Plus, he takes the weight off our shoulders – it won’t even be us speaking, but the Spirit of our Father speaking through us. Being a defender of the faith is no small thing – but I fully believe God is asking just that of each of us everyday.
Let’s encourage each other in this! Let’s pray for the grace we need to speak out, and let’s affirm other people that we see defending the faith. It is a powerful way to glorify God in the world we live in.
Mhairi Jackson is in the Community of the Risen Christ in Glasgow, Scotland. She is studying at the University of Glasgow and is actively involved in University Christian Outreach there.
From Living Bulwark, December/January 2016, used with permission. This article first appeared in The Lovely Commission, a new publishing venture and brand of Kairos North America. It is is run by Molly Kilpatrick and Mary Rose Jordan and a team of contributors from various Christian communities in North America and beyond. Together they are working to build a culture of radical love, femininity, modesty of heart, mind, and body amongst young women. Their aim is to inspire and equip young women to embrace and promote a culture of Godly femininity in which we live out our rich identity as daughters of God and disciples of Jesus Christ.