You can't whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day's coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.
"I'm speaking to you as dear friends. Don't be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being.
Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life - body and soul - in his hands.
"What's the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one.
And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail - even numbering the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.