I recently re-watched the film ‘The King’s Speech’ – partly because Colin Firth is a silver fox, and partly because it’s just a great film.
There’s a moment in that film where the King, who stutters, is being bombarded by his speech therapist with the question “Why should I listen to you?”. Eventually, the king yells back at him, “BECAUSE I HAVE A VOICE.”
Women throughout history have been silenced. It’s often easy to believe that because feminism and women’s rights have come so far, that the work is done, we have enough – but that is so rarely the case.
The women that came before us fought some huge battles to give us a political voice, the vote, and today that fight continues. In the workplace, in schools, in universities, in the home, in government, and sadly, even in some churches, women are not listened to.
As Christian women, the church should be a crucial place for our voices to be heard.
There is a long and complicated theological debate, which continues today, about whether women should be allowed to speak in church, and it is too big of an issue to fully explore here, although I would so recommend doing some research in to that issue!
Whatever you or your church’s view on women preaching in a certain context, there is no doubt that women and girls were not created to be silent. We have God given voices, gifts and talents, and we have something to say!
Humans are flawed, and a church is made up of humans and therefore will never be perfect before Jesus comes to make it perfect. This means that we need to be brave and speak out when we see injustice, or something that we know isn’t right. It also means we can’t be afraid of questioning.
There might be things, in your bible study, your church’s leadership or organisation, or maybe a sermon you heard, that don’t sit right with you, but you’re not sure whether you’ve misunderstood, or there is a genuine issue. Don’t be silent! This doesn’t mean you should go and bad-mouth your church to anyone and everyone, but instead speak to the right people and ask the right questions!
You could ask your youth group leader, bible study leader, minister, or anyone in church leadership; raise your concerns and make your voice heard!
If you find your voice drowned out, or not considered important because you’re young, or female, or for any other reason – don’t be put off, sometimes it may take more than one conversation.
Because while we need to make sure we are not simply speaking because we like the sound of our own voices, when we have something important to say, we need to say it with confidence.
There’s a verse in Esther which says, “Who knows? Maybe you were made Queen for such a time as this.” – Esther 4:14 (MSG).
God gave Esther an authoritative position, and therefore a voice, and she risked her life to use it, but God blessed her courage and used her to save the lives of her people.
It was not necessarily the ‘proper’ time or way for her to speak, but she spoke, and in doing so carried out God’s will.
The next time you want to say something important, but are afraid of being ignored, patronised or mocked, remember that God can use your voice, and speak.