A TIME TO SPEAK                                     Ecclesiastes 3:1–7

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

For thirty long years, the African American woman worked faithfully for a large global ministry. Yet when she sought to talk with co-workers about racial injustice, she was met with silence. Finally, however, in the spring of 2020—as open discussions about racism expanded around the world—her ministry friends “started having some open dialogue.” With mixed feelings and pain, she was grateful discussions began.

Silence can be a virtue in some situations. As King Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: . . . a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:17).

Silence in the face of bigotry and injustice, however, only enables harm and hurt. Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoeller (jailed in Nazi Germany for speaking out) confessed that in a poem he penned after the war. “First they came for the Communists,” he wrote, “but I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.” He added, “Then they came for” the Jews, the Catholics, and others, “but I didn’t speak up.” Finally, “they came for me—and by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

It takes courage—and love—to speak up against injustice. Seeking God’s help, however, we recognize the time to speak is now.

PRAYER LINE: Dear God, release my tongue and heart from the enemy’s grip. Equip me to see and feel the harm of injustice so that I may speak up for those hurt by this sin.

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Why is it important not to be silent during discussions about injustice? What hinders your willingness to engage in such dialogue?

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