Lazy, tired, hypocritical and embarrassed.
I blogged about a campaign/movement called ‘we will not be silent’ inviting people to declare their intention to pray for the victims of human trafficking around the world on Sept. 27th there is still time to join find out more on Facebook at sajusticeusw). We are believing that people responding will matter in real life.
But the whole thing has me wondering about why we do stay silent. I’m not immune to this tendency at all. I’m pretty informed about justice issues. What is it that allows me to not bother saying anything when I know different? Why don’t I speak out more?
If I’m honest I’d say it’s actually pretty simple:
- I’m lazy. I can’t be bothered. I can’t be bothered to explain the whole situation or even to get the details of the situation all the time. I get tired of being the person who brings it up.
- I’m tired. My experience tells me it doesn’t make much of a difference in how others behave. It tires me out trying when the results seem so small.
- I’m a hypocrite. The more I know, the more responsible I am. I feel like a hypocrite when I talk about the trafficking of children and women in the cotton industry and then go shopping and buy what I like for the cheapest I can get it.
- I’m embarrassed. It’s tangible energy I feel when I bring up the thing no one wants to talk about. It’s discomfort in subtle forms but it is tangible none the less. I embarrass the people I’m with. This isn’t a bad thing – actually it’s part of the good news, but it’s still a bit embarrassing to actually live out.
When I lived in Edmonton, Canada there was a restaurant I frequented because they had delicious food (and they were open late). The problem was that the dress code for the waitresses was TERRIBILE. Mini skirts and revealing tops and HIGH HEELS were required for the job. It was a humiliating.
I thought about boycotting the place but then again, is staying away the best strategy for change? So, instead, I spread the word and asked all my friends who went there to speak to the manager every single time they went and formally complain about the forced dress code for the female staff.
Some did. And I did. Even when it embarrassed the people I was with – even when I was just tired and wanted to eat a meal and not think about injustice, even when it didn’t seem to make much difference. And some others did do. Evidently – because even though there was no Facebook page or fancy flyers, one time I went into that establishment and all the women were wearing different clothes. I wasn’t sure what to do. What happened?
Oh yeah!! That’s right – a bunch of people complained, and spoke up and did something (even if it seemed pathetic and embarrassing) and we changed the environment, a little tiny bit perhaps, but a bit none the less, and it mattered for some hard working women that no longer had to be embarrassed.
I’m telling this story to remind me (and you) that it matters. You matter. I matter. And when we decide to use our voice – we matter together. It's not about flashy campaigns that make everyone feel good – it's about doing something to stop what we know is wrong and establish a new way for people to live.
So if you are lazy, tired, hypocritical and embarrassed – join the club and speak up anyway. The gospel truth is that it really will make a difference. Of this, I’m sure.