There was a time when Christians had a voice. It was expected that our leaders would be believers. Our forefathers prayed publicly. Our money was engraved with "In God We Trust" and no one thought twice about it. Businesses were closed on Sundays and families attended church. Today, life is much different. Prayer is no longer part of most public events. Christians are not nearly as respected and are increasingly painted by the media as hateful, intolerant, and arrogant. We are considered odd for believing in a leader that we have not yet seen. We're told that our views are silly, outdated, uneducated, and our beliefs are a sign of weakness.
As a new believer, I was very open about my faith, but eventually, I learned to be silent. I thought I was being wise and respectful of others. Lately, I've come to realize that this was not the motivation. If I were truly honest with myself I would admit that I have hesitated to openly share my opinions because I feared being rejected. I didn't want to be perceived as someone with silly beliefs or as someone who hated people who didn't live according to my personal views.
I'm happy to say that I've come to my senses. While I understood that the media had launched a PR assault against evangelical Christians, what I didn't realize was that I fell victim to this myself. At some point, I started to believe the message they had been peddling. Somewhere, in the deepest parts of my mind, I feared that it was true; maybe I was silly, outdated and my views were lacking love. The knife was cutting both ways-- nonbelievers receive validation for their unbelief and at the same time, some Christians are starting to feel ashamed. That shame bullies us into silence.
Recent events in my life have stripped away all the fear of rejection and my boldness is back and exponentially increased. You see, my baby grandson was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and nearly lost his life as he waited for a heart transplant. I've walked through the valley of the shadow of death and clung to my God with all my might.
I can honestly say that I am full of love for all people; I don't hate a single person on this planet. My views are not outdated, they are timeless, my faith is tested, and my God didn't fail me!
I may not have yet laid my physical eyes on Him, but I KNOW who my God is! I KNOW HE'S ALIVE! I will no longer walk in shame and fear. I'm sad that it took a serious situation with my infant grandson receiving a heart transplant to bring me to this reality, but none the less, I'm glad I have arrived. I'M A CHRISTIAN and I will not apologize!
About the Author: J.Heather Leigh lives in Western New York where she is a part-time college instructor, a full-time wife and mother, and a wishing-for-more-time writer. As a Christian, she likes to tackle topics such as unplanned pregnancy, infidelity, and single parenting. You can find her on the web at http://jheatherleigh.blogspot.com/