Speak well? I watched the news from Minneapolis last night.
There was the brutal image of the white police officer kneeling on the neck of the black George Floyd so he couldn’t breathe. There was news of Floyd’s tragic death and the subsequent sacking of four police officers.
Thousands of peaceful protesters marched against injustice. Other protesters threw bricks and rocks at police cars and smashed windows. Police in riot gear threw tear gas…
How do we speak well to Floyd’s family, police officers’ families or shopkeepers whose property was damaged?
St Paul wrote about ‘speaking the truth in love’. I am sure that the principle is right…
Jeff Lucas, the well-known speaker and writer, tells of an instance where unkind words reduced him to tears:
‘…some Christians go round ‘telling the truth’ and do great damage. These days when someone tells me they are about to ‘speak the truth in love’, I look for the nearest nuclear fallout shelter. Their preface about speaking the truth in love usually means that they won’t.’
I have been musing on Isaiah’s words: ‘If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.’
I haven’t figured it out yet. Speaking well is something about personal integrity and consistency. Words, character, motivation and actions coming together. ‘Speaking well’ bringing light.
Bob Dylan speaks well:
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
‘Seriously Funny by Adrian Plass & Jeff Lucas
‘Forever Young’ by Bob Dylan (1973) – probably written particularly for his son Jesse (born 1966). My favourite Bob Dylan song.