Tuesday, February 18, 2020

How can you speak the truth in love in your memoir?

Sometimes God calls us to take a stand, to take a risk, to confront the elephant in the room. What needs to change in your family? your workplace? your community? your church? your city? your nation? your world?

Dear Chuck Swindoll writes, “All over this world, around us every day, are people who are looking for the truth to be lived out. . . . There are people watching you. . . . Remember, you are here by God's appointment, you are in His keeping, you are under His training, for His time.” 

Chuck's words remind me of a recent blog post in which I suggested that we memoirists can—sometimes we must—use our voices to make a difference. I wrote about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and of the Old Testament woman, Esther, and of a young boy named Hayden. (To read that post, click on On authoring change: Break the silence with your memoir.)

And in the memoir class I’ve been leading, we talked about speaking the truth in love, speaking truth to power, and the correct way to go about it.

Then on Sunday, my son-in-law’s sermon touched on the same topic. Brian said that when Jesus spoke, sometimes he stirred up animosity and resentment, even among his disciples once in a while. (See Mark 6:1-3 and Luke 4:28-29.)

Brian also pointed out that despite the tension Jesus created when he spoke the truth, he also was a man who attracted others, who offered healing and life. He sent his disciples to speak the truth but also to be appealing to others and bring restoration and hope.

Jesus and his disciples lived out that tension, and you and I are called to do the same. He calls us to tell the truth and at the same time serve others in love.

Here’s the hard part: We need to resist being obnoxious and abrasive. We’re to offer others a message of encouragement, to share the truth thoughtfully, gently, compassionately, and winsomely. And we need to extend grace to others because we all need to grow and change and mature. Nobody's perfect. 

“As a change agent, how do you
turn your dream of making a positive
and meaningful difference in the world into a reality?

You author change.

You write and publish a book
that inspires positive action or change
in individuals, communities,
organizations, or the world at large.

The world needs change agents.
It’s your time to make a positive and meaningful impact
with your words.”

Perhaps you’ve cracked open an issue and sorted through it and have come to a clarity others haven’t yet. Take action. Speak up. WRITE.

Make a difference.
Invite others to re-think
their assumptions and conclusions.

Your memoir could help right a wrong.
It could trigger much-needed change and healing.

God could use your story
to give hope and courage to others—
perhaps it could even
make all the difference in one person’s life.

Lloyd Ogilvie penned this perfect prayer for memoirists and those who sense a need to speak up:

“Father . . . bless me with Your Spirit so that
I may disagree without being disagreeable,
share my convictions without being contentious,
and lift up truth without putting others down.
Help me to seek to convince without coercion,
persuade without power moves,
motivate without manipulation.”
(Lloyd John Ogilvie, Quiet Moments with God)

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