The following verse is the reason why the Church must speak uncomfortable truths to those in power and to the institutions that wield their power, creating bondage, not freedom, in the lives of people. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed” (Proverbs 31:8). While such a vocal stance of faith would include addressing issues like injustice, prejudice, and poverty, it has another element. It is a sound we make when people are being manipulated toward the fulfillment of high-sounding agendas that, in the end, will become cruel forms of controlling injustice.
That injustice is where the application of the law has become selective and partisan, where prejudice is exerted upon segments of the population not because of the color of their skin but because of their worldview. It is a sound we make when our economy is being pushed toward levels of control that resembles the dictatorial control found in a third-world nation. It is the sound we make when warmongers are marching us toward World War III while lining the pockets of compliant political puppets whose moral positions are compromised by greed.
This is not a conversation approved by those whose faith has become solely devotional and resistant to speaking out about the things that rob people of their freedom and a hope-filled future. That silence allows injustice to move forward unchallenged by the truth.
Loving our neighbor as ourselves is not rolling over like an obedient pet, becoming submissive to all we are told to believe, labeling that submission as a higher and more noble expression of faith. To love our neighbor as ourselves will many times require that we expose evil, take a lonely stand, or help those within our circle of faith to gain a deeper understanding of what is taking place in our world. At the same time, the sound of our voice is marginalized and discredited. Such is the nature and the challenge of expressing an informed faith.
Most people are busy going to work, raising a family, and trying to make ends meet. It is hard to find the time to examine and explore the issues taking place in our world in greater depth. Issues that are crushing people and preparing them to accept subtle forms of bondage that, in the end, will resemble the outcome of the proverbial frog in the kettle.
Those who lead the Church are not only to be educators of Scripture and creators of community. They are called to help people discover an honest snapshot of reality, no matter how dark and displeasing that snapshot might appear. Their preaching assignment is to bring the hope of Jesus Christ into the darkest realities to inform their congregations and initiate change that leads the Church, and a nation, toward Jesus and His message of hope. Expressing those contrasting realities is what makes the Gospel so appealing to people who know something is wrong but need someone to help them see what is taking place with a clarity that only comes when someone speaks to them in love with an informed faith.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins
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