"And Ananias departed and entered the house, . . ." Acts 9:17
Pssst, can you keep a secret? Apparently many believers today are skilled in keeping the good news of Jesus Christ to themselves. Too many Christians seem intent on keeping their allegiance to Christ undercover. Not that we are to tote around giant family Bibles with naked baby angels on the cover or carry signs, pass out tracts, or corner colleagues for a three minute sermon every day.
But in every relationship there are times when it's natural and necessary to affirm our relationship with Jesus to others. It takes more effort and energy for a Christian to be a secret believer. He or she must constantly choose not to speak of their faith, to keep their confidence in Jesus covered at all cost. There must be a conscious effort not to offer hope to those in need, speak words of encouragement, or pray for those overwhelmed by life. Indeed we are called to be a faithful presence to others.
Enter Ananias of Damascus. We know little of him. What we do know is that he was a faithful witness. He responded immediately to God’s instruction and went to see Saul despite Saul’s reputation as a Christian killer. Ananias accepted Saul as a brother in Christ.
Too often we let the reputation of others, or the opinion of what others think cause us to hesitate and hold back grace and love from those who need it most. Many times the gossip has more gravity than grace. We should never let what others say keep us from reaching out. Loving others can be risky and messy. Many times those who are searching for Christ expect Christians to judge them.
But Both Ananias and Barnabas showed themselves to be more than witnesses of a belief system. They acted as an ally and advocate to Saul. The very definition of an advocate is one who looks past the outward behavior, vices, sin, fragility, brokenness, and confusion of a person. An advocate focuses on winning a person’s trust, friendship, and loyalty and makes room for God to work in the lives of others.
In what ways can you be someone's ally and advocate?