Zechariah 8:15-16 Don’t be afraid. But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things,” says the Lord.
It’s easy, I’ve found, to spout all kinds of outrage when someone pushes my buttons. I often need someone to help me correct and balance my perspective. Sometimes I don’t even know the facts. And sometimes the facts don’t support the opinions I so easily espouse.
So this Scripture hits me right between the eyes. “I hate lies. Tell the truth,” says my beloved Lord. And I can hear him saying, “In the court of your own mind, render verdicts that are just and lead to peace.”
For me, this translates into making the effort to verify facts before I express an opinion or forward or repost someone else’s opinion. It means being willing to challenge and question my own impulses and conclusions. It means seeking God’s wisdom about using my voice for justice and peace. And my silence as well.
In the last two posts, I’ve said apparently contradictory things. Speak up. Be still. How do we find the wisdom to know when to speak and when to be quiet? I would love your perspective!
I’ve found practical guidance through Braver Angels. Yesterday I participated in a training called “Depolarizing Within.” We were challenged to recognize within ourselves such attitudes as hate, disdain, pity, and disrespect, and to recognize our stereotypes. Make depolarizing distinctions:
- Between positions and people
- Between policies and core values
- Between inconsistency and hypocrisy
Braver Angels has discovered that people’s core values across the political spectrum are often the same; it’s the ways to achieve those values (policies) that create differences. It’s possible to debate policies without deriding people.
Braver Angels training is focused toward bridging the political divide, but really, it’s applicable to any relationship.
Sometimes we need to be quiet and learn, so that when we speak, we speak truth with love and respect that can lead to peace and justice.