The right words, spoken in the wrong way
Surely the light of the wicked is put out, and the flame of their fire does not shine. The light is dark in their tent, and the lamp above them is put out
- Job 18:5-6.
Job’s friends say many true things about God, yet ultimately are shown to have not represented God truly.
Believing that God cares about justice lies behind Christian Aid’s work. Believing that one day the fire of injustice in this world will be quenched gives us faith to continue when we may be tempted to be discouraged.
So, what is wrong with what Job’s friends are saying? It may be something to do with the fact that it is the people who are in a position of power and privilege who are lecturing about the justice of God to one who is poor and suffering. Sometimes the right words, spoken in the wrong way by the wrong person, become the wrong words.
Something to do
As you go through today, pay attention to the power relationships between people, whether the relationships are formal or informal. Consider how some words, phrases or statements might be heard or interpreted differently, depending on the power relationship.
Something to pray
May my passion for your justice and truth never lead me to abusing another person.
Teach me your way of speaking the truth in love.
Peter McDowell is a lecturer in Missiology with Practical Theology at Belfast Bible College. Previously he has been a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and worked in Nepal.
Published on 12 October 2018