I should just write ellipsis because the lyrics of “Hush” by Jackie Hill Perry articulates all that I need to hear and say.
I’ve been caught up for a while. From the crisis at the border, to the pangs and violence of racism, to the pro-life/pro-choice debate, to the President – I’ve been feeling it ALL. You have too, right? These things matter. They are real. They are worth caring about. As a Christian, my work is to love and be a help to those society marginalizes.
Lately, though I’ve felt like my role is to stand up on Twitter. That’s what my generation is doing, that’s where people are. Surely, if I am quiet, surely if I don’t follow suit I am a coward or lukewarm. I can’t be silent. People should know where I stand. I’ve got to be bold. I’ve got to defend. I need to retweet that progressive thought because I am a Christian raised in the south, and I don’t want to be labeled ‘evangelical conservative’. I’ve got to comment. I have to heart this, but not yet I need to research. I have to know more before I post so I can answer a question if it’s asked…
“Words flying out the mouth, it’s a cage match with language
And we all fluent, it’s dangerous
See them aiming on the Internet and we like it”
It goes on and on. With all those wild thoughts, I go to a screen to speak my “peace” typing words I’m not responsible for. Yet, what I need to do is hush.
The truth is I have opinions I’m still forming, I don’t know exactly what I think about each issue, and I want to leave space for my mind to be moved as I learn.
Most of my “political” beliefs are not polarized. I’m not progressive, and I’m not a conservative, and YES I get to fall in the passionate middle of those two (though society tries to erase this option to continue to the fighting). I can’t and shouldn’t speak to everything happening because I am not wise. There are so many perspectives at play different than my own, and I would not honor them by trying to get attention for my own. I am not the one suffering in these regards – someone else has a voice and a story and a pain tied to these things and the platform should be theirs’. There are many places I feel I should speak (often with good intent as a Christian), but they don’t need my voice. They need me to be quiet and listen.
You don’t owe social media your ideas. Feel free to keep them to yourself. Developing them with people that actually love and know you. There, your thoughts are sifted and safe.
— Jackie Hill Perry (@JackieHillPerry) June 25, 2019
Just being quiet period still doesn’t sit with me though. You either? Good. I think me being quiet empowers the voices that need to be heard. It cuts out the noise. Yet, I do think there’s more to it. Though debating on a social platform or protesting or etc. may not be what I’m doing – I do need to be at work helping, serving, getting to know people that differ from myself. God cares about all of these issues, and He wants justice, love, and change according to His Goodness. Being quiet doesn’t mean not caring, not moving, or not knowing what’s going on.
When I really start closing my mouth and listening to people where I live, in my town – I have to be changed. I have to be pushed into a place where I find more ways to be a servant of my Lord. Maybe for you, it’s to be a mentor, maybe for me an educator. Let God be creative. Be uncomfortable. Get to know the stranger most times they will become less strange. Let Him paint, let Him move and don’t try to outline it. Hug it up as a mess. He will give you a way to extend His grace in a place you avoided, didn’t consider, or never imagined being needed, and you will love it. Me being silent, often means His work being seen.
In the end, the heart of it for me is this: my mind has been the filter, not Christ. Y’all I’ve been concerned with how I appear my entire life. These current events and how I think about them is no different. I have allowed socials to be the place where I sort my thoughts, instead of taking every thought captive with my Lord. I’ve posed my theological graspings within a post for others to ignore or heart when I could be asking the Holy Father. I have been doing my searching on the Internet versus muddling through them with God. That’s why I’m distracted. That’s why He feels a couple of rooms away. I’ve allowed my conscience to be clouded by a crowd-pleasing app that would tell me if my thoughts are ‘where it’s at’.
I need to realign. So I’m starting with two things to ask myself before I post or interact with strangers via the Internet:
Does my speaking reflect the character of God?
Do my words provide the listener with wisdom/encouragement/ conviction?
“And they heard and they serving the person who served it
What I’m saying is it serving the person that heard it?”
I hope my rambling does that for you. If nothing else – thanks to Jackie Hill Perry, for reminding me to be quick to listen and slow to speak. I pray God gives us the courage to be servants before speaking.