But I want to push the issue a bit. Not out of disagreement with him, but out of concern for the ways in which I have seen these two words used as weapons against one another
"Speaking the Truth in Love," is not
Wrapping the Truth in cotton batting so that when the words hit the floor
they will not make a sound to disturb the room;
Or coating it with honey or syrup
so it will slide down easily and cause no distress;
Or spraying the room first with air freshener
to let the cloying sickly sweet spray
do it's work and disguise the fact
that sometimes the truth has an odor.
The odor of death not acknowledged,
or toilets in cages that hold children,
or oil seeping into Sacred Lands.
Speaking Truth in Love
follows the Biblical formula
If, Then, But...
that keeps the conversation going.
If....you will care for the widow and the orphan
Then....I will richly bless you
But....If not, I will come to you and remove your candlestick from it's place.
It does not flinch
from the reality that we create widows and orphans
rather than care for them
Nor sugar coat that continuing to do so will cost our lives.
But neither does it block the path to change
or use the reality that we have brought death upon ourselves
as a weapon that must be defended against.
You have denied the cause of the poor, the brown and the black
If...you change your ways, make voting accessible to all
correct the issues that deny them adequate health care
and stop your violence against them in the street
Then...slowly peace and prosperity will fill your land
and you will be richly blest.
But...if not, the violence of the streets will turn against you
and the diseases that breed in places of poor housing will find their way to you,
for they are caring for your elderly and waiting your tables and stocking your grocery,
and you will die amidst the knowledge that this could all have been prevented
if you had only listened.
Truth Spoken In Love To Power
is the voice of John Lewis saying, "We want our freedom now."
And of C.T. Vivian telling Sheriff Clark, "You aren't as evil a man as you act."
even as he is beaten and arresting for bringing Black folks to register to vote.
It is the voice of the poet and the preacher
who understands that the Exodus goes on around us every day
That we are in the time of the plagues, warnings of what is to come.
And will not back down from confrontation
but will invite the possibility of repentance and redemption.
"The Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword,"
Truth is the Scalpel of the Lord
it will cut out the cancer if we let it.
Or it will sever our carotid artery.
And God will weep that this was our choice.