Jesus became the figure He did because of the things he said and the teachings he shared. The people who heard him heard messages of hope and forgiveness when Jesus said the things that so often went unsaid. Jesus said what is often unsaid because he had too, because he spoke with His Father’s authority. Yet when you see the trouble it got him into, it is easy to see why these things are so often left unsaid.
I think for example of Jesus talking to the woman at the well. She was there in the heat of the day because she was a social outcast, but to win her trust Jesus needed to say what was so often left unsaid, identifying what was missing in her life and in turn offering her living water if she followed him. Of course, given the social restrictions that were present at the time, the fact that he said anything was as powerful as his words.
And my hope is that we can learn from Jesus. My hope is that we can learn to say what needs to be said, that is to say what is often left unsaid.
For example, our society generally doesn’t talk about mental illness, for fear of being perceived as weak, yet in my experience, those who make them self the most vulnerable are often rewarded with the closest connections, both with others and with God. We don’t talk about our demons, about the times it gets hard. And we don’t show those who are struggling the compassion they need. Even Christians often fall short of Christ’s compassion for those in need, refusing to admit that it is okay to not be okay sometimes.
What is left unsaid is that bad days and relapses happen. Mental illness happens. It is okay to not be okay. Yet when we think about how Jesus lived, is there any question he would say these things now? Perhaps the only real question is why can’t we?