“I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Elie Weisel
I have intimate experience with being the victim in a situation and close friends making the decision to not choose a side, but to just straddle the fence. I have grappled with this over and over again, because I am such a black and white person. I have asked God to give me grace to realize that taking a stand and choosing a side is hard, but if I am being honest it has been painful and still is painful to feel as though our hearts are not worth people putting themselves on the line for.
I believe it has taught me and Caleb how important it is to us that we are people that will stand in the gap for others. That we will call out injustice, declare truth and proclaim liberty. Because I have felt vulnerable and defenseless, I want to rescue those that feel the same. God is a righteous judge and He is our strong defender and I cling to that truth every day. God also wants us to have people in our lives that surround us, lift us up and support us.
Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 2 Kings 2:2
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17
Earlier this week Caleb and I were talking about a conversation I had with someone in regards to a topic I am really passionate about. I told him what I had said and he said “You REALLY said that?” and I said, “Yes, the way I see it there are two options. The first is to keep silent and allow intolerable things to go on. The second is to stop being afraid, make people a bit uncomfortable with the truth and stop injustice!” Because if we are honest with ourselves, fear stops us from standing up for victims. Fear of offending someone, fear of being too passionate about something, fear of people thinking we’re too extreme, fear of putting ourselves out there and taking a stand that we’ll actually have to stand for too.
I struggle with this fear every day, so I am not saying any of this to gush about how brave or not brave I am, but to express that through suffering, blurriness goes away and truth becomes clear. It is important that we are confident enough in our God and in His truth that we stand up and call it like it is. As Christians, we should not allow oppressors to have a comfortable existence. Oppressors count on people being too scared or too complacent to question them. We have to stop tolerating abuse, neglect, and scarring hypocrisy.
Be Brave. Speak Truth. Be a Defender.