I ignore thousands of people every day. And you probably do too.
As I’m typing this article my social media feeds are still rolling. People are still tweeting, liking, linking, and carrying on conversations. I’ll ignore 99% of it. You will too, because we live in a culture of dismissal.
This is why we are told that if you want to get noticed online then you’ve got to stand out. The worst thing that can happen to a writer, like myself, is to be ignored. You can write the best piece in the history of writing but if nobody reads it, then you really haven’t done much.
The old acronym is mostly true: there is no such thing as bad press. To modernize that, one would say that there is no such thing is bad traffic. If you get their attention and get them to your site then you have won a good part of the battle.
But for a Christian blogger (really for any Christian communicator) winning someone’s ear is only a small part of the battle for faithfulness. What you do with that ear after you’ve won it is what really matters.
Let No One Disregard You
In Titus 2:15 Paul exhorts Titus with these words, “Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
I first read this with my 21st century eyes. When Paul told Titus to “let no one disregard you”, my mind immediately went to the need to stand out. I translated this as if Paul was saying, “Don’t let them ignore you. Stand out, Titus. Cause them to take notice”.
An illustration also came to my mind. I pictured a panicked mother looking for her child in a crowded area. She will demand attention until she found her baby. If it meant stopping traffic, shooting a gun up in the air, or screaming at the top of her lungs, she’ll do whatever it takes until she gets every persons attention and gets her baby back. That, I thought, was something similar to what Paul was saying to Titus.
“Make them hear you”.
But as I started studying a little more I came to see this isn’t merely talking about getting attention. Their disregard for Titus is a type of evasion. It’s not that Titus needs to get their attention. He has their attention. The problem is that they are dismissing his words as if they are insignificant.
What Paul is saying to Titus is that he is to speak with such authority that they must deal with his words. They can’t remain neutral after hearing Titus speak. In other words, it’s not enough to gain a hearing. Those who hear you need to be pressed to consider and respond to you.
Decision Making and the Sovereignty of God
As an unashamed Calvinist I’ve noticed in my own heart an unhealthy way that the truths of God’s sovereignty has impacted my speaking. I’ve taken a truth one step further than it should go.
I’ve rightly, I believe, made the point that we as preachers and writers are not responsible for the decisions that people make. We preach and proclaim and leave the results up to the Lord. As Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”
In my heart I’ve taken this truth one step further than it ought to go. Because though we aren’t responsible for the decision that people make—it seems to me that we areresponsible for people making a decision.
If we preach, and teach, and write, and engage unbelievers in such a way that they are able to stay neutral, then we are not listening to God’s Word on this point. We are allowing them to disregard us.
If a messenger sent from the Queen of England demands your presence you will respond. There is no neutral ground. You can’t dismiss the edict. You either rebel and stay at home or you obey and go see the Queen. This is the case because the messenger speaks with authority. How much more authority then do messengers of the living God have when they speak.
Therefore, we cannot pretend that simply gaining an audience is a job well done. If we are speaking as messengers of the living God then we must speak with authority and press people to respond to His Word. If not we aren’t being faithful to our charge.
Speak in such a way that people must make a decision.