Biting Your Lip In An Age of Persecution
“Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:32
“Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives. Ezekiel 13:22
Very recently during the World Cup, as avid watchers were being distracted by watching a game, Muslim Jihadists entered Kenyan homes with weapons and once determining the inhabitants were not Muslim, and especially if they were followers of Jesus, they executed them on the spot. This has not happened yet in America, but it is coming. What is true in America and elsewhere is that many Christians have concluded that “silence is golden as God’s commandments are broken and ignored in their midst, and evil continues its march through the society, with the approval of the majority, either by verbal approval, even if half-hearted, or by silent acquiescence. To remain silent is essentially to approve. In this case the “discretion of silence is not the better part of valor or obedience to God’s instruction (see above texts). Silence is an encouragement for neighbors (your fellowman) to continue in evil practices and will fail to save any lives. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the face of persecution which took his life as a twentieth century martyr said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
The “downside of speaking out is exactly why you choose to remain silent in the first place; the invitation of persecution through scorn or worse. Remember your Lord’s words, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward IN HEAVEN, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12) However, the Word of God directs the tone and choice of your words as you stand up to evil choices and calling evil what it is: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6); and, always “Speaking the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
Yet, the Scriptures do not approve of biting your lip when truth is “stumbling in the streets. Rather, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men…In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:13.16). Your deeds AND your words are equivalent to the watchman on the walls who sounds the trumpet (Ezekiel 33). Do not succumb to blandness, but rather retain your salt, the salt of a true disciple of Jesus, who is your life. Where would we be if we only had the example of God’s deeds and not His Words to accompany those deeds, like Creation and atonement? General revelation, like Creation and the Incarnation, falls on deaf ears because of our hardness, but when God spoke, what he had done came to life in the majesty of truth; General and Special Revelation combine to bring life!
If silent, and I might add low-information and non-salty, professing Christians had only exercised their right to vote, received as a blessing from God, America would not have the current administration, which flouts its opposition to God’s Law and hastens the slide of America into Godlessness, categorized elsewhere as “slouching toward Gomorrah. The GENUINE Christian will not choose to be a spiritual recluse in his or her world; the Bible does not allow for such. Your opportunities to speak and do righteous deeds are numerous, even if you are not looking for them. If you indeed are a follower of the Lamb, those opportunities are flowing toward you like a river. How long will you nuance the opportunities away and hold back from speaking clearly, boldly, and in love, so that the words of life may clearly find their mark? I fear too many are so cautious and slow to get to the point of the Good News that the attentiveness of your listeners dissipates into their continued march into a hardness of their practices and worldview; all the time thinking that you approve of their actions and ill-conceived philosophy of life. Relationship building is important, but how many months and years must pass before a clear view of the gospel message is presented?
The time really is short. It is past time for every true believer to attend to Paul’s words of truth: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching (talking, conversing) to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet (and mouths) of those who bring good news! (Romans 10:14-15) You cannot do this if you continue to bite your lip; silence is not golden where the gospel is concerned.
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