March 09, 2014

Controversial Subjects - Shirley S. Tye

Controversial topics have not risen in my writings simply because the subjects I tackle are fiction stories or articles about someone’s work or hobby. But I imagine it is possible to engage in controversial subjects through fiction. Perhaps that might be one of the safer ways to handle such matters. With my lack of knowledge in this area, I can only consider what is said by those brave writers of controversial topics.

One of the points mentioned in the suggested links about tackling contentious topics is advice about getting personal. That would mean not expressing one’s personal point of view on a matter and I would add to that by saying, (yes, there’s my personal opinion) be careful how the word ‘you’ is used. There’s an example in that last sentence. I could have said “… not expressing your personal point of view…be careful how you use the word ‘you’.” The second sentence is pointed – at you; whereas the first sentence is not pointed, it comes across softer, in a general way which hopefully is less likely to produce the feeling of finger pointing.

Another excellent piece of advice from those links is about using resources to support the writing. Resources would certainly provide backup for the writer’s statements and opinions providing the resources are reliable. It is important to verify the source. (Notice I didn’t say “It is important to verify your source.”)

There are many Bible verses about the use of words. One which comes to mind is Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (KJV). It reminds me to keep a guard on my mouth so that whatever I say or write will come out strong, truthfully, and with love no matter what the topic. Basically, rather than allowing words to spill out carelessly, at all times I need to consider my words before speaking or writing. I applaud those writers who have the talent to write about controversial topics with grace and knowledge.


  1. It is true that we need to speak the truth in love, but ultimately we will offend people. That is the nature of truth. Until we are offended with the truth we will not admit that we are sinners ,nor will we recognize our need for a saviour. I agree it is important to be loving, like you said, but it is because Jesus loves people so much that he makes them feel uncomfortable in their sin. I find it very difficult to speak the truth these days because more and more it goes against the norm, but it is because of the love of Jesus in my heart that I feel I must. I must obey, and let God handle their reaction. Easier said than done! :)
    Pam Mytroen

  2. Yes, I agree with Pam that offence is the nature of truth, but God does expect us to speak His truth (no matter what.) Yup' herein lies the challenge for many of us.

    Good post, Shirley, and yes the use of certain pronouns can make or break. Sometimes the use of 'you' is somewhat akin to someone's finger in your face!

    Thanks for making us think!

  3. Thanks for this good post, Shirley. I know we all feel we have to watch our words whether spoken or written. Speaking out in God's name is a huge responsibility, so we do need to seek his guidance in all of this—like what to say, and how and when to say it.

    Fortunately, when Jesus is talking to his disciples about going out to preach that the kingdom of God is near, he reassures them that they will have help with finding the right words.

    We too need to tap into the advice Christ gives them: “ . . . do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10:19-20 Oh, that we may listen to his voice.


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