There is a time to speak.
Right now, I am thinking of Neo-Nazis marching on Charlottesville, shouting anti-semitic and racist curses. There was a line of clergy there, looking bright and foolish in their long robes, holding hands. They were powerless compared to the armed militia groups of the white supremacists. They could have been killed, and they knew it. In the pictures, I am struck by their smiles, and their love.
This is a risky way of doing battle, but it is so often the Christian way – to turn up and be powerless, and depend on God’s power to show through.
We know the lessons from history, but it is hard to stomach it when history is being reenacted down the road, in our town. We want someone to speak out against it, we’re just not sure we want to be that someone. But if the majority is silent, the oppressor takes it as approval. Bullies stop picking on the vulnerable kid if the rest of the class calls them out for it.
We are not so far from the classroom – just with bigger weapons.
There is a time to remain silent.
We are all, at various points in our lives, either the one in power, or then the one lacking in power. For those of us currently in power, we are wisest when we give our microphone to those whose story is untold.
This is the way of Christ, who overturned tables of the oppressors, and gave voice to the poor.
Speak, when all you want to do is close your eyes and hope it goes away.
Conversely, when you are fiery and ready to give your powerful speech to the masses, hand your beloved microphone to someone who wasn’t invited to the front.
I’m writing this like a sermon – but it’s a lot easier to preach than practise.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens…
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7-8)
Over to you:
- When you witness evil and injustice, what is your natural tendency – to speak or to hide?
- What does it cost you to speak? What does it cost you to be silent?
- With what issues have you wrestled with that challenge – when to speak, when to be silent?
- Which are the issues that still make you uncomfortable, squirmy – the ones when you never know whether you’re doing the right thing?
Linking up with the folk at Five Minute Friday. This was my best five minutes on Speak.
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