I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only person who has been taught to respond with kindness.
I’m also pretty sure that I’m not the only person who has been the target of a gut-wrenching insult.
When that happens, it can be difficult to respond with kindness.
Sometimes, you just have to clap back (respond quickly to critical remarks or unfair treatment).
In case you missed it, the editorial board at The Baltimore Sun did just that, after much of its city was described as a place where “no human being would want to live”; as a “very dangerous and filthy place”; and as a “rat and rodent-infested mess”.
The board fired back: “Better to have a few rats than to be one”
The interchange got me thinking about the times in my life when I’ve needed to use the power of my voice to set the record straight; to speak up for others who have no voice or are unable to speak for themselves; to speak up when I see a wrong or injustice being done; etc.
As people of goodwill, we must learn to speak truth to power – to confront those who hold important positions, to demand a moral response to a problem. I know it means taking a risk; but more importantly, it means taking a stand for what you truly believe. It is a powerful nonviolent response to injustice and abuse of power.
Because we espouse a truth that love endures and overcomes (and hatred destroys), speaking up can be a true act of humanity. Silence is not always golden. In fact, silence can sometimes be seen as complicit agreement or approval.
Sometimes we sit back and say nothing when something really needs to be said. It could be an idea, a suggestion, an observation, a criticism…but for some reason we don’t speak up.
We may be afraid of hurting another person, looking mean or foolish, or opening a can of worms that will make a mess. Sometimes it seems like staying silent is the wiser choice.
Despite the risk, standing up and saying your piece – with peace is best. It’s really okay to say “Ouch! Get off me!” when you’re being trampled on. It lets the other person know that you are being hurt and that they need to move.
Has there ever been a time when you knew you should have spoken up, but you didn’t? If so, how did it make you feel?