Far too many people – Christians included – think they are doing OK if they just mind their own business, don’t do a lot of bad things, and just get on with life. Most people operate this way: they take pride in the fact that they have not killed anyone or done other overtly evil things.
But of course biblically speaking, there are sins of omission just as there are sins of commission. What we don’t do is equally important to what we do in fact do. When we know we should do something but fail to do it, that for us is sin.
Remaining silent and inactive about evil when we have a chance to make a difference is not just cowardly, but sinful. We are called to be proactive in promoting that which is good and resisting that which is evil. Apathy, fence-sitting and refusal to engage are not options for the biblical Christian.
Let me give you examples of the need to both speak and act. As for speaking out, consider this scenario: You have a neighbour who is beating his wife. You know this for a fact: you can hear the blows, hear her screams, and see her battered face and body the following day.
This has been happening for some time now. Do you have a responsibility to speak out about this? You sure do. Sure, how you speak and to whom may be a matter of debate. It may be risky for you to directly intervene when such an assault – often fuelled by alcohol – is occurring.
Calling the police may be the wisest course of action here. But one way or another, you cannot remain silent. To do so is not only sinful, but you may eventually find that you have the blood of a dead woman on your hands. You will then be asked, “Why did you not speak up about this sooner? Why did you remain silent when this great evil was taking place?”
Let me also offer an example of the need to act. Let’s say you see a toddler next door playing outside, and there on the ground near him is a hypodermic needle, left behind from some druggies shooting up the night before. The toddler is heading for it, sure to pick it up and play with it.
You are standing close by. Do you not have a moral obligation to act here? Surely not just the Christian thing but the right thing to do here would be to act, to intervene. Simply grabbing the needle and disposing of it before this toddler can potentially harm himself or worse would be the proper course of action.
So let me now provide an obvious example of an evil which all Christians need to both speak about and act upon. I refer to our abortion genocide which is slaughtering millions of unborn babies each year – some 45-50 million a year to be more precise.
Some 100,000 a year are being killed in Australia. Is it enough – especially for Christians – to simply say, ‘Well I am not performing abortions, so I am OK’? Is it enough to think that because you do not work at an abortion mill, your hands are therefore clean here?
I don’t think so. When known, obvious and blatant evil is taking place right under our noses, remaining silent and doing nothing just are not options for the believer. Surely at the very least we need to speak up. We need to be willing to discuss the horrors of abortion by any and all means possible.
And there are so many things we can actually do as well. Of course no one can do everything. Nor are we called to do everything. But we each have a role to play. I do not spend my time praying outside of abortion mills, or activities like that.
My role is in writing, researching, lobbying and acting as a watchman. But there are so many things we can do. We each must pray and seek God as to how we can work against this horrendous evil. The sky is really the limit here. We all can do something – even if our main job is prayer and intercession.
But so many options are available here: telling others; warning; lobbying; interceding; sidewalk counselling; working in pregnancy help centres; setting up crisis pregnancy ministries in your church; etc. There is so much that can be done. Simply getting your church involved is a good first step.
Let people in your congregation know about the basics of abortions. Get some good pro-life books in the church library. Get pro-life tracts and literature into the hands of your fellow members. Encourage your pastor to speak on this topic.
Once awareness is raised, form a prayer and action group. Pray about the abortion mills in your own neighbourhood. Pray about the needy girls who are being forced to have an abortion. Seek to set up a practical help ministry to assist those who are pregnant and seem to have no viable options.
A ministry designed to help scared, lonely pregnant young women for example is of tremendous value. We need to make it real practical. Offer them a place for food, shelter and clothing. Look at options such as adoption once the baby is born.
It is simply not good enough to tell the frightened girl whose boyfriend has run out on her and whose parents are demanding an abortion or else, that abortion is sinful. This girl needs practical help – desperately, and right away. Every sizable church should have a vital ministry like this.
If not however, you can get involved with groups who are doing these sorts of things. There are plenty such groups we can refer to here. Let me mention just one: The Babes Project in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs is helping plenty of women, and seeing many babies being saved.
A group like this needs prayer support. It needs financial support. And it needs helpers, volunteers, and other practical forms of assistance. Why not get in touch with them and see if you can be of help. Their site is here: www.thebabesproject.com.au/
Obviously many other groups like this exist and need your support. But the point is, with the great evil of abortion, silence is simply not an option. Nor is inactivity. We are all called to be salt and light here. We are all called to stand up for the defenceless, the innocent, and the oppressed.
Each of us can have a role to play here. So stop making excuses and start asking God what you can do. Or at the very least, ask God what you can say on behalf of the unborn. But know that refusal to speak or to act is in fact sin for you. Let me close with the words of Bonhoeffer.
He paid with his life for his beliefs, so he has some real credibility here. He said this: “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.”