Day 20: The Riskiness of Truth-Telling
BY MICHAEL LIBUNAO-MACALINTAL | March 13, 2023
“No prophet is accepted in his own native place.” This was a sobering statement to swallow. As justice-seekers, it’s important that our work is rooted in the communities we’re a part of. Justice is not a one-all solution, it must be precise—fine-tuned to the needs of those who are suffering the most.
And yet, today, we’re reminded that telling the truth, being honest about the injustices we see, what others ignore or un-see, has consequences. It’s not always easy telling the truth, unveiling the systemic injustices in our churches, cities, and communities. It can be daunting to tell your parish, that yes, it must wrestle with its power, privilege, and its own complicity in excluding communities of color and LGBTQIA+ persons. It is scary to tell your school board that more guns isn’t the answer to stopping school shootings, and it is intimidating to protest outside city halls, reminding those in power that the moral test of society is how we treat those who are least among us. Telling the truth is risky. Hearing it can be painful. It can cause anger, resentment, and chaos.“The people in the synagogue were filled with fury, and drove him out of the town.”
So, what then? Do we stop? Do we hide? Do we retreat?
No. Beloved, find solace! For prophets never gave up. Elijah, Elisha, and Jesus remind us that the truth of righteousness will not be silenced nor driven out. And so, we must learn to keep pushing forward. Even amid the chaos, the truth demands to be heard.
So proclaim, dear friends, proclaim the truth of love and righteousness, let us do our part to bend the moral arc of the universe a little closer towards that beloved community.
- How can you, in order to do your part to “bend the moral arc of the universe closer toward that beloved community,” be a truth-teller, honest about the injustices you see?
- Do you find solace in the idea of truth-telling, or do you feel a desire to hide or retreat? How can you ask God for the strength to keep speaking?
Michael Libunao-Macalintal, M.Div. (he/him) is currently the liturgical minister of Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School. A theologian, minister, and preacher, Michael has spent his career helping form students to be prophets in their own communities and contexts. You can find more of his writing, sermons, and prayers on his substack, the delicate art of living.
The more excuses I hear the more I believe in the truth. And am left with fewer people talk to. Its fine because I am closer to God because of it.
Thank you for addressing the necessity, despite riskiness, of truth-telling. I couldn’t agree more!!
I embedded this theme in my novel ( “The Casino Caper: An ill-conceived quest ” , published Jan. 5/23 on Amazon.ca). I’m working on a sequel which will dive a little deeper into the whole thing.
Your article gives me courage to keep up the pressure
I would be happy to pursue this conversation with you.
This was a moving reflection. I am trying to do my part for justice by speaking and writing in favor of limiting gun ownership and availability in a rural area where hunters are prevalent and gun enthusiasts wide spread. Also,. we are home to the only assault weapons manufacturer in Maryland and I and a few others are advocating for legislation to forbid such.
I don’t really find solace in truth telling, but some satisfaction, but the Spirit seems to give me the where-with-all to keep going. And so does your company and support.
Our imperfect world is certainly full of injustices.
I know what it means to speak out, it means losing my job and future prospects of getting work in that country. But I do it anyway, because keeping children and vulnerable people safe is imperative.
So now I am a person of NFA and continue to spread the message in other languages.
Prophetic voices are special gifts for the benefit of the larger Society. Doubly blessed prophets are yet to do justice to their enormous potential in rebuilding communities and societies.
Lament over Jerusalem
36 Truly I tell you, all these things will come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling! 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate.… Mateo 23