Sunday, September 4, 2011

Learning To Speak Up

I watched part of a movie recently that my girls had already been watching. It was about a teen girl who was dating an abusive boyfriend. Her friends knew, and only one of them tried to get the girl away from him. The rest did nothing. The end result? The girl was murdered.

Not very uplifting is it? Even if it was just a movie – it brought up a good discussion between my girls and me. Not only to talk to them about being in an abusive relationship, but what to do if they fear for a friend.

If It’s one thing I’m trying to get across to my girls it’s that they need to speak up.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King Jr.

How many times do we have a friend who wants a divorce and we fail to speak up? We are more afraid of them getting angry with us or losing their friendship than we are of trying to help them salvage their marriage.

How often do we witness a parent being overly critical or harsh with a child? How about someone joking about hurting themselves…or someone else? Do we see a friend “sext” someone else – or receive one?

How about some situations that we’d call the “lesser evil?” Yet they are still wrong. When someone obviously “works” someone else and takes advantage of their love and kindness – time and time again? Do we speak up when we witness someone being dishonest about paying a bill?

There are so many scenarios. And yes, there are situations that are none of our business. But if we care about someone and we see him or her morally, emotionally, or spiritually in danger – it is our responsibility to speak up and in love – confront them.

It is one thing to respect someone else’s privacy and choices in life – it’s another thing to simply be afraid that we’ll damage our image or lose the relationship.

I think we’re all in danger of living in a society that is so used to “to each his own” that we’ve lost sight of being our brother’s keeper. We’ve forgotten that we are here for each other – to take care of one another.

You can’t take care of someone else without sometimes saying and doing the hard thing.

Speaking up doesn’t have to be harsh or unkind. It can be done with a gentle voice and a loving hand. As long as it’s done.

I think we’d all agree that we’d hate to look back and think that we could have done something to intervene on behalf of someone in a positive way. Love someone enough to speak up for them. Sometimes that’s the best way you can show you truly care. They might not see that right away – but some day, they just might thank you for it.

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