Tuesday, June 2, 2020

There Are Times When Silence Is Not Golden

"Then we cried out to the Lord God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression"  – Deuteronomy 26:7

Every week we gather – nowadays virtually – to worship God – to sing praises to His name – to see other Christians – and then we go home. Nothing wrong with that on the surface.  The thing is, God did not intend that who we are as Christians would not be summed up by what we do on Sunday.  That we would be content with having a “holy huddle” and then pull our spiritual nature back in like a turtle in its shell for the rest of the week. 

Bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the Law of Christ” – Galatians 6:2

If I reminded you that as Christians we are all bound together into one family by the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus, I am certain you would all agree.  If I told you that God speaks to a lost world through the Body of Christ – you would probably agree but some might not know exactly how He does it. If I told you that the Church – the Body of Christ must have a voice in the face of injustice and that which is contrary to the Word of God – you might say “That is not my gift.”  Somehow thinking that you were absolved from any personal responsibility.

Some years ago I was at a meeting in Birmingham, Alabama.  Birmingham is known for a number of things – some good and some not good. At the time I was serving with the Promise Keepers ministry – a men’s ministry promoting biblical responsibility and spiritual unity.  It was a bold vision – totally dependent upon the power of the Spirit and yielded hearts of those involved. At the meeting, the leader asked a question. “How many men of color have ever had prejudice shown toward them?” Every man of color raised their hands. (Men of color is a euphemism for not-white)  Then he asked the rest of us, “How many of you have ever showed prejudice toward a man of a different color?”  Some raised their hands, in shame.  Then he said to those who had not raised their hands, “Do you even care that it happened to our brothers in this room?” Do you even care – those words have resonated with me now for nearly 25 years. 

Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’” – Matthew 25:45

There should be a righteous indignation that comes over us when we see wrongful acts. There should be a shout from the collective Body of Christ. More than that there should be action.  I am not suggesting marching in the streets, but it could be that.  At the least the world should hear our voice. Silence is assent – agreement with what has been done.  Cain responded to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The answer for the Church is “Yes we are.”  The fact that we are often physically isolated by affluence, culture or race does not mean that we are spiritual and morally separated from people who do not look or live or speak like us – especially – when they are part of the same family – when we have the same Father.

You might be surprised to know that the majority of the 60 million people in Germany during the rise of Nazi regime were Protestant, followed by Catholicism.  But the Church in Germany, on the whole remained silent.  The point of my comparison is that of silence in the face of injustice.  There is no threat of being sent to a concentration camp for speaking out when we see injustice. So why don’t we speak out.  Why is the white evangelical church largely silent over what the African American churches have gone to the streets over?

So the question arises “Do you even care?” How do those persecuted and the rest of the world know that you do care if you remain silent?

"But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion." - Luke 10:33

Church, we must stop walking on the other side of the social – cultural and ethnic road.  It is not that the priest and Levite didn’t see the man – it was that they didn’t care. And if you are guilty - then confess and repent. Today! So when you ask the Lord ... 

“Lord, when did we see you?” He will say, "When you did it to the least of these, you did it to Me."

Rise up and seize the moment! Rise up and seize the day! Be the Church that God intended.

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