Verity…We must speak truth

 As we continue our meditation on Verity, let’s reflect on ‘speaking truth’.

There is an old rhyme:  Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can’t hurt me.  But, as we know, that’s not true!  Words have great power: they can build up and they can destroy, they can inspire hope and motivate people to greatness and they can send chills down our spine; they can make us happy or sad, courageous or fearful, loved and included or alone and alienated. We are all familiar with that old analogy of breaking open a feather pillow and then trying to retrieve the scattered feathers.  Impossible.  The extent of the damage caused by the irresponsible use of the gift of speech can be frightening and sometimes tragic.  All over the world the use of words is a topical issue in this era of fake news, trolling and hate speech. Freedom of speech as a right, while being an important part of any healthy society, does raise serious issues about the rights of all people and particularly the possible harmful effects on others when that right is exercised.  This is a complex issue and is an essential debate to have in any society and it prompted me to think about what we find in our Judaeo-Christian spiritual tradition about speech and how we use it, and in fact our Christian understanding of ‘the word’…


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