In the midst of current events it has been said that “White Silence is Violence”. The intent of the statement makes sense. It has also been said that during the Holocaust the silence of so many contributed in allowing this tragedy to take place. In the 18th century, Edmund Burke said, “Evil prevails when good men do nothing.”
But silence is not addressed by simply making a statement. Speaking is not defined by a few sentences we put out. Recently, organizations from churches to businesses, even sports teams feel the need to publish a statement about racism. On one hand they feel if they do not put out an official statement they will be judged as racist. On the other hand, some feel like publishing an official statement will solve the problem and be sufficient. What do we accomplish by ‘demanding’ a statement?
“Speaking” against evil, whether it is racism or abortion or human trafficking, etc, is not done by an official statement. Our “voice” is our life. It is the collective of our words, all of our words, and it is the actions we take. It is how we live our lives.
We must not judge people by a statement or the lack of one. One of the worst things about social media today is trying to define ourselves or someone else in a soundbite. Words posted are so often of misunderstood and misinterpreted. An organization or group puts out a statement and immediately people pounce on it for being wrong. Its ironic to watch the statement be judged wrong by both sides of an argument. “It’s too harsh.” “No, it’s too soft.”
In Matthew 15 Jesus teaches us that it is what comes out of the heart that defiles a man (versus what goes into our bodies). Those things are manifest in both word and deed. It is also what is in the heart that defines a man. Now, it is nigh on impossible to fully, accurately judge a person’s heart, but as we hear what people say and view what they do, and try to understand, let us do it in the totality of their lives.
Jesus also said in Luke 6:45,46, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.” Evil is addressed by a change in our heart. This change is wrought ONLY by the working of the Holy Spirit.
He also says in vs 46, “then why do you call me Lord, Lord and don’t do the things I say?” Official statements are shallow words. It is one thing to call Jesus Lord, but it is quite another to DO what He says.