I have a friend who must use that phrase 500 times a day. She’s a straightforward person who has learned – the hard way I gather – to cushion some of what she bluntly observes with the qualifying words, “I’m just saying.” I’ve always taken her to mean that she’s stating what she knows or things to be true but doing so leaving me room to disagree.
She challenged me 3 times last week (Annual Conference is a time we can meet up.) One time I heard her comment with “I’m just saying…,” I thought a minute and answered right back, “Well, I’m just saying …” and gave her my own hard truth. She sat and thought and then agreed.
One time I heard her comment with “I’m just saying…,” and ultimately we just left it there. I think we have different views.
One time I heard her comment with “I’m just saying …,” and I sat and thought and then had to agree with her. She caused me to change my mind.
How it is that people can speak the truth in love, listen, and sometimes change minds?
First, I can do it with this friend because I know she sees me as a brother in Christ, a brother regardless. The Holy Spirit’s embrace of us both means that we know ourselves part of something bigger than either of us: God’s people on earth, the church. We talk to each other as those knit together in the Body of Christ. That means that we disagree, agree, leave it alone or whatever but we do so together, never leaving.
Second, I can talk honestly because we are honest. That’s not redundant. It’s hard to be honest because in the church we are often taught not to cause a ruckus. But that sort of peace that comes from evasion is painful and artificial. When we are honest there is no hidden agenda. So please be honest with me and each other as sisters and brothers in Christ.
Third, we talk honestly because we don’t just know we will stay in the Body. We talk honestly because we know our need of each other. [I Corinthians 12:20].
Lastly, we talk honestly because we trust Jesus to talk through us.
It is hard sometimes these days to have an honest conversation. But we can do it and we will be stronger when we do.
May the church speak honestly to each other and continue to be the Body that regularly says to itself, “I’m just saying.”
I’m just saying.
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Hello from Harvey – I’M JUST SAYING
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