What a remarkable, wonderful gift the gift of speech is! We were created wo commune with God and with each other with words. Think of it!!
God created us to bear his image, and that image is first seen when the first human named the animals. He used words and connected them to ideas and filled them with content. And thus he was able to receive the revelation of God.
Adam named the lamb, and when God became flesh and entered the world, he told mankind that he was the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
Words. With words we pray. With words we speak the truth. With words we encourage. With words we say, “I love you” and “your hair is beautiful” and “I love the shape of you and how you fit with me and the way that your neck smells like I belong.”
But sin is now in the world, and that which was meant for beauty and truth was twisted into ugliness and lies and silence. Satan was a liar from the beginning.
Satan does not want the image of God reflected in words. He twists the words to make them ugly and hateful, and he silences the cries of the oppressed. For the darkness reigns when the dark places remain dark. It is for the advantage of the evil one that secrets remain secret and crimes remain hidden behind non-disclosure agreements.
When you read through the Psalms, you see godly men and women crying out, lifting up their voices to the Almighty One, whose Voice called them into existence.
They speak of praise and joy, pain and sorrow, laughter and anger, oppression and helplessness, despair and elation. And all of it is expressed in words.
He hurt me. He plowed my back. He is telling lies. He oppressed and afflicted me.
Because when the light is on, salvation is near. When the light is hidden under a bushel, bondage still reigns.
God would have us turn the lights on, and he calls us to use words.
But the church, which is to be the place where the light is on, is using her voice to silence the oppressed, the plowed-under, those who are crushed under unspeakable sorrow. Instead of using the voice to bring light into darkness, the voice is silenced by guilt and shame.
When one is buried by decades of silence and the heart has grown numb and buried by walls, the soul sinks into despair. But then, where the gloom has buried hope, a light finally arises and the curtains are pulled back.
And the helpless one finally finds her voice. She is finally able to speak of the atrocities done to her and bring them out into the light and look for healing.
And then those who are appointed as overseers of the soul speak.
“Did you follow Matthew 18?”
“Did you have two or three witnesses?”
“What were you wearing?”
“Where were you when this happened”
“Why didn’t you tell people earlier?”
“Why did you call the police?”
“Why didn’t you call the police?”
“What did you do to cause this?”
And here is the mistake that the oppressed make. They think that if they do everything right, say it just right, dot all of the eyes and cross all of the ts, then the shepherds will HAVE to listen. After all, they are the guardians of truth.
But here is why it is a mistake. If they believe you, their whole world must collapse. The reality of the brutality that you have experienced doesn’t fit their worldview, and therefore it cannot be real. In their worldview, those kinds of crimes happen to other people, outsiders, gentiles, not in our own camp.
If they believe you, then they have choices to make, investigations, confrontation, and cutting out a cancer. And it is far easier to ignore the cancer, pretend that it isn’t there, and go on with life than it is to do what has to be done with cancer. It is easier in the short term to silence the one who warns of cancer than to deal with the cancer.
So they don’t want to hear, and it won’t matter how it is said, they will find some reason not to believe you. They will twist words, they will pull out their verses, they will hire a PR firm, they will issue statements, they will do everything they can think of…
Except believe you.
And this is actually encouraging for the psalmist of every age, crying out for justice.
Listen closely: It isn’t you. It isn’t because you did something wrong, or said it wrong, or didn’t say it at the right time, or didn’t follow the right procedure or whatever other excuse the gatekeepers throw at you.
That isn’t it.
It is because they are of their father the devil and the works of their father they will do. He was a liar and a murderer from the beginning and the truth was not in him.
Speak anyway. Because when you speak, you shine a little light into the darkness.
But even more than that – you show yourself to be a child of the light.
Arise, shine, and Christ will give you light.
And the darkness hates the light. It always has because it loves the darkness. It is easier to hide in the darkness that to be exposed by the light.
Speak anyway. You will find that there are those who walk in the light who hear you. Who understand. Who see you.
Jesus sees you. He knows. He wants you to speak to him. He calls you to come down from the tree. Come out of hiding.
“Who touched me?” he says.
If that was you, tell him everything. He knows already, but he created you with a voice. Don’t let the Evil One silence that voice, because that voice is beautiful in your Father’s ears.
He hears you. He keeps your tears in his bottle, and every one of them will be avenged.
So speak. Write your own psalm. Speak your truth.
You won’t ever do it correct enough or have enough witnesses for the children of the devil to listen. They aren’t going to listen, not even if you sent an angel from heaven to thunder in their ears.
Speak anyway, because you are a child of light.