Speaking Out

Do you ever find yourself mulling over or wrestling with a particular topic or question?

I have been a part of a covenant group for about two months now.  Our covenant group meets on a weekly basis and it gives me the opportunity to have accountability to myself and to God.  It is helping me to keep my growth as a disciple closer to the forefront of my heart and mind. Some of the pieces of the covenant we keep address spiritual practices that have long been a part of my life: yes I worship each Sunday, yes I pray on a daily basis and yes I read the scriptures on a (mostly) daily basis.

Yet there is one piece of the covenant in particular that I have been mulling over. One piece of it I am wrestling with: “When I am aware of injustice, I will not remain silent.”

For me, this statement begs two questions: What injustice am I aware of?  How will I speak of it?

I know that justice is an important part of the Christian faith.  There are a number of detailed instructions in the Hebrew Scriptures for how the faithful were to live in relationship with their neighbors fairly. Everything from making sure the poor had a warm cloak to sleep in at night and received their wages in a timely manner (Deuteronomy 24:12-15) to leaving behind some of the grapes of the harvest to ensure that widows, orphans and immigrants would have access to them (Deuteronomy 24:21).  The Psalmists sung of how God loves justice (Psalm 33:5) and many of the prophets spoke out, calling the people back to acting justly (Micah, Amos, Isaiah, etc.). Christ, who came to fulfill the word of the prophets lived out a life always on the side of the oppressed and excluded.

Knowing all this makes my first question slightly easier to answer than the second. I am aware of injustice in the growing divide between the rich and the poor in our country and around the globe.  I am aware of injustice in instances of discrimination based on age, race, nationality, color, religion, gender and sexual orientation. I am aware of injustice when I hear of people being driven from their homes due to war, famine, or cruel and corrupt leadership.  I am aware of injustice when I hear of the lack of support and funding for many in public education. The list of injustices that I am aware of could go on and on.

The next question, though, is the one I stumble over.  How will I speak? How will I not be complicit by remaining silent? How will I follow in the Christian tradition of living justly and speaking out for justice for others? It is all too easy to recognize an injustice and just think to myself how horrible it all is.  I might go so far as to complain about a particular injustice to my husband while we watch the evening news. But that’s not really speaking out?

So I have been considering ways that I could speak out. One platform that many seem to use today is social media, and I could take to sharing articles regarding instances of injustice to help raise awareness.  I could also make my voice heard by writing or calling my representatives, asking for direct action to be made in line with my understanding of God’s justice. Yet the action that I pray for boldness in the most is to raise my voice in the moment when I see or experience injustices in my daily living.  I pray for the courage to speak to my beliefs with compassion, humility and grace. Holy Spirit, open my eyes to injustice around me and prompt me to speak.

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