Rich Dixon talks about listening.


I’ve been studying this proverb.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

It seems to be a biblical mandate for advocacy. Since I spend a lot of my time riding bikes to support kids (and mothers) rescued from human trafficking, I’m “studying” because I don’t want to grab a verse out of context to support my preferred interpretation.

You’ve heard the catchphrase – we’re asked to be A VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS.

May I push a bit on that notion?

Of course we must advocate for victims of injustice. But then there’s this proverb.

…let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance…

What if part of the reason they’re “voiceless” is – I don’t listen? What if I’m so eager to speak for victims that I never take time to hear them?

What if they’re not really “voiceless” but deliberately hushed? Could it be that we, those with privilege and power, prefer that they remain unheard? Do we inadvertently encourage their continued silence?

Do we somehow feel threatened by the prospect of handing the microphone to the “voiceless.”

I’m not referencing purposeful muzzling by those with evil financial and political motives. Those people actively work to make sure victims aren’t heard.

I’m speaking here to those of us who genuinely seek “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

I’m wondering. Are we so certain we know their stories, that we don’t ask them to tell their stories?

Are we afraid? Afraid of potential discomfort? Afraid of what their stories might reveal about us?

As always, my “study” provides more questions than answers.

Jesus and I need to talk.