“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most prominent figures in recent American history. Renowned for his work in the advancement of civil rights in the 1960s by using his religious beliefs to promote nonviolent civil disobedience.
A man of vision. A man of courage. A Christian.
I believe it noteworthy that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s passion for equality and ending racial discrimination was fueled by his strong belief in Christ. He was quoted saying, “We must keep God in the forefront. Let us be Christian in ALL our actions.”
As a Baptist Minister and First President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he devoted his life to the Christian faith, and he exercised this faith not just in words, but action. May we consider, in his pursuit of equality, he was arrested over 20 times, his home was bombed, and he was ultimately assassinated!
He didn’t just “talk the talk” he fearlessly "walked the walk!"
Shamefully, a mere 49 years later (in the very same America) we don’t see many modern day crusaders and when we do they are crucified in the media because of their Christian views.
Today what exists predominately are two extremes:
Christian complacency and Christian persecution.
I know, many of you will say, “Come on, really Christian persecution?”
Hear me out.
Persecution is defined as “hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs.” The Latin root means “followed with hostility.”
The news recently reported that a teacher in Augusta, Maine was disciplined and threatened by her employer only because she privately said to a fellow employee, "I'll pray for you."
When in America did it become a crime to show Christian compassion and concern?
When did the tide begin to shift that Christians are required to hide our faith?
Look around- Christians in the United States are being fired from their jobs for stating their beliefs or denied positions because of their beliefs. Christian businesses are being targeted, fined or shut down for exercising their religious freedoms.
Christians are being ridiculed, targeted and condemned at alarming rates for practicing a 2,000-year-old religion that says “You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God.” ~Leviticus 18:4
That's persecution, my friend.
So, we’ve become a people that are filled with fear, complacency, inaction, silence and selfishness. We would rather turn a blind eye to the “injustices” that we see happening in our world than take a stand that may require sacrifice or consequences.
I say this because as Christians what have we done collectively to denounce:
Faith- Based Terrorism
Persecution of Christians
Redefinition of Marriage
Removing God, scripture & prayer from government, school, workplace and public gatherings
Erosion of religious liberties
Make no mistake, like racial inequality, all of these are dearly important to God and therefore should be dearly important to us!
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. ~ James 4:17
So, what should WE do as Christians?
1. Understand this isn't about your personal opinions, values, desires or thoughts- rather it’s about God’s!
2. Educate yourself and pay attention to what is going on around you especially in your local area. Get involved.
3. When faced with decisions- stop and ask yourself the following questions:
“Where does God stand on this issue?”
“What does the Bible have to say on this topic?”
“How would Jesus react to this situation?”
“Would God really support this practice?”
4. Commit to working through the political process to affect change. Vote for representatives that have steadfast Christian values and don't be afraid to communicate to your elected officials your expectations. Remember they represent you!
5. Consider writing to or boycotting businesses that support or promote an ungodly agenda & when possible seek Christian alternatives.
A great list for both can be found here: http://bibleblender.com/2016/christian-news/list-anti-religious-un-christian-businesses-organizations-people-celebrities-locations
6. Give money to charities that promote Christian values and fight against injustices and persecution.
DO SOMETHING- no matter how small it can make a difference!!!
Imagine what our world would be like if Martin Luther King, Jr. had allowed fear of persecution or even simple selfishness to stand in his way? He probably would have lived a simple life preaching to his small congregation, focusing on his family and dying at a ripe old age surrounded by his loved ones. Sounds ideal but we would have missed out on his "Dream, " and we would have missed witnessing a Christian man standing firm in the face of adversity and sacrificing everything for what he believed was right in the Lord's sight!
So, in all our actions may we choose to always “do right in the Lord’s sight,” even when it takes effort and sacrifice!
Let God's word be your guide. Because make no mistake God is watching, an account will be given and it being too hard isn't a good excuse.
Father, thank you for the gift of Christ and his sacrificial love. Help us to live a life that is pleasing to you and to have the courage and fortitude to stand firmly for you even in the face of adversity and persecution. May we always embrace that your ways and thoughts are not of this world and that standing firmly in Christ is pleasing in Your sight! Amen.
It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. ~Romans 14:11-12