Ladylikeness 15: the hidden truth about truth and how to speak it


"Ladies bravely speak hard truths.

What if I offend someone?  

When Stephen Hopkins at last put pen to paper, he reportedly said, "My hand trembles, but my heart does not." 

As one of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, it's unknown whether the shaking in his hand was due to his palsy or realization of the treason he was committing.

Either way, his name remained. As did his resolve. 

When they chose to sign that document, the Founding Fathers were signing away their fate. And some their lives. Nine would be killed in the war. Five would be imprisoned and beaten. Two would have their wives captured and abused. Twelve would lose their homes. Seventeen would lose everything. Many would lose children, including one signer who lost thirteen sons and daughters.

All would be hunted.

None would recant. 

When I'm looking for examples of human bravery, I find it here. Or in the story of Esther, who approached a King to save her people and courageously uttered, "If I perish, I perish." Or in the men who took down American Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11, killing themselves to save thousands of others. Or in James Shaw, Jr., who wrestled a gun away from an active shooter in a Nashville Waffle House. Or Leah Sharibu, a schoolgirl kidnapped by Boko Haram who refused to denounce her Christian faith for her freedom. 

Or, in those who speak truth, even when it's unpopular, unwanted, or rejected. 

Speaking truth may seem like a small part to play when compared to combating terrorism or confronting a king. But truth, also, will always require a little skin in the game. It will demand we display the courage of our convictions and prove we believe what we say we believe. 

Whatever that cost of speaking truth for us is, is unknown. And different for everyone. But when the time comes, Ladies speak. Even afraid, they speak. 

Not because they so lightly regard the cost but because they so highly regard the truth. And believe it is always what is best, even when it's what is hardest. 

How To Put This Truth Into Action

Use the wrong pronoun in Canada and you could be charged with a hate crime. Say there are only two genders in Scotland and you could be kicked out of school. Stand for traditional marriage in the United States and you could end up before the Supreme Court. 

Truth has its price. 

Most of us, however, will contend with the cost of speaking hard truths in more personal areas, like...
...losing a friendship when we speak to them about the harmful decisions in their life.
...losing a good standing at work when we speak up about a mismanaged project.
...losing face when we take responsibility for a mistake we made.
...losing peaceful anonymity when we take an unpopular position with our family or community instead of going along to get along and staying silent. 

Truth is a powerful thing. Always has been. It has an authority, a divine fire, all its own. It's a weighty thing to say and a hard thing to hear. 

And, make no mistake, it makes people angry. Not always, but often. Truth refines. It strips away defenses and fake pretenses and false realities. It's going to make people uncomfortable. And if you're the source of that discomfort, guess where the anger or irritation will be directed? 

With all this promise of backlash, how are we to find the courage to speak it? 

We trust it. Truth has always required faith, a belief that it's the most beneficial, most caring, most positive thing that can be spoken. 

To believe it's loving. 

Truth is what will bring restoration to the hopeless, order to the madness, direction to the purposeless, right to the wrong, and life to the dead. 

The world desperately needs all the truth it can get. And that can only happen one way: if brave souls, with pen in hand and hand trembling, will still sign their name. 

 Fac Fortia et Patere
"Do brave deeds and endure."