I have recently been asked to speak and write more often about a very sensitive and very personal subject. I fight moving towards it because making a platform out of such a “hot topic” seems exploitive, like I’m benefitting for personal gain at the potential expense of relationships and feelings.
It would almost feel like using the death of my grandfather to gain attention for myself because I know the story would move people.
It feels a little gross.
And still, the more and more I pray about what the next steps are for me, the more and more I am being led back to speaking and writing—and that of course includes this topic. I am daily seeking Christ and talking to those who I am in community with and they are all pointing me back towards the very thing I am trying to run from.
I don’t want to speak. It’s too hard. It’s too vulnerable. It’s too divisive. It’s too confining.
I want someone to speak, I’m just not sure I want it to be me.
I talked to a friend of mine who serves to poor in Mexico.
Starting 30 years ago, she began helping families and doing community empowerment by working in an orphanage.
Since then, the organization she started with her husband, who she also met at the orphanage, has grown into one of the largest short-term missions organizations in the world, building thousands and thousands of homes, schools, and churches in the slums on multiple continents.
She is for the poor, about the poor, and speaks on behalf of the poor.
It is what she is known for.
However, she makes a strong distinction between her calling and her vocation.
She said, “I am not called to the poor. I am called to Christ and he has led me to the poor.”
It would be easy to not want to speak about the poor. It is a hard life, serving in the slums on a daily basis and challenging those of privilege to care for something outside of their own comfort and safety.
But, I know she seeks Christ in all things and this is where he has led her. While most people look at her and think she could never walk away from this ministry, I know if she felt Christ calling her to a new thing, she would go immediately. This powerful distinction has freed me to be more open to the idea of speaking and writing about this difficult subject.
I am called to Christ, and this is where he is leading me.
So as I read through 1 Corinthians today I kept coming back to that familiar first verse.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Only this time I heard a Gentle Whisper switching some of the words around to say, “If I have the love that is the fullest expression of man’s earth and God’s heaven, but do not speak, I am only a hollow drum or a silent cymbal, made for celebration and dance but sitting in silence, never used for its intended purpose.”
Love speaks on behalf of those who do not have a place to voice their suffering. Love speaks words of affirmation and hope to those who can’t see past the darkness that keeps the light at bay. Love speaks in light of personal cost and discomfort. Love speaks truth. Love speaks hope. Love speaks joy. Love, very simply, must speak.
Who needs you to speak on their behalf today?