Sunday, June 12, 2011

Deadly Silence

There are times when silence is good....and there are times when silence is deadly. The days we live in contain far too little of the "good" silence that quiets the spirit and gives rest to the soul. Instead, the silence we see most often today is the deadly type - that of people afraid to "step out of the crowd" and speak up against the widespread abuses of personal freedom and the shroud of sin which darkens our world today. The silence today reminds me of these words from the Bible, "And Pilate, wanting to please the crowd, released to them Barabbas...."  Mk 15:15

We all know what happened after that. Pilate, in his failure to use the authority given to him and in refusing to continue to speak up in defence of Jesus out of fear of the crowds, condemned an innocent man to death. One man's silence resulted in deicide. One might say, "But this had to happen. Even Jesus knew this."  True, but, would you want to be Pilate? Would you have wanted to be the one who would go down in history as the man who had the power to save the Christ and refused out of fear?

Before the first Pentecost, the apostles were a fearful bunch, also. Peter denied Jesus and they all abandoned him when He was arrested. John managed to scrape up enough courage to return but the others were nowhere to be found. It wasn't until they received the Holy Spirit that they became the great leaders of the early Church. The Spirit gave them the courage to spread the gospel despite great adversity and the persecution they came under.

I wonder at our silence today. Especially the silence of Christians. There are still billions of Christians in the world and it seems to me that if more of them spoke up and used their voices, both in prayer and spreading the Gospel, and also in speaking out against injustices and evils, our world would change. I'll leave you with the heart wrenching words of Pastor Niemoeller, a Christian imprisoned by the Nazis, who talks about  where this deadly kind of silence can lead to:

First, they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for me

...and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

The gift of fortitude (courage) is one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and we are in great need of this gift  living in the midst of the secular society that surrounds us today.

May the Holy Spirit pour upon all Christians the gift of courage and the wisdom to know when to speak up. May He also break the bondage of fear which is sealing the mouths of so many in our day.

18 comments:

  1. By the way, does anyone know how to get rid of the white part in my post? I tried to fix it three times but it won't work. You all know how computer illiterate I am - any help would be appreciated :)

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  2. Those are powerful words by Pastor Niemoeller. I have found in my own life I walk a fine line between speaking out and keeping silent. There are times I know I should have spoken up and didn't and times I did and shouldn't have. Sometimes people are just trying to push your buttons and speaking can actually do more harm than good. I agree praying to the Holy Spirit for Him to enliven that gift of fortitude is so important.

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  3. Mary, this is an excellent post-I love the quote by Pastor Niemoller. I'm sorry-I don't know how to get rid of the white part. Did you highlight it?

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  4. Karin,
    Sometimes it's hard for me to know, too, which is why I pray for wisdom all the time. Not that I don't pray for the other gifts, also - we need them all!

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  5. Anne,
    Thank you! I loved his words, too.
    No I didn't highlight it so I don't understand what happened. Each time I tried to get rid of it I had no luck :)

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  6. Perhaps that white highlight is put there deliberately so we can notice the importance of what you are saying. I'd leave it if I were you.

    I also think we need some leadership and example from our Church leaders in this respect. Whatever their denomination.

    Church leaders are in a unique position to be involved and to speak out whenever and wherever they see injustice, and not shy away from talking politics. Too many, methinks, are busy tickling ears of their congregations for fear of losing them.

    God bless.

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  7. Hi Mary, we live in such a secular time that we "fear" speaking up for the truth. One would think it would be easy with the backing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but our egos get in the way I think. We don't want to be ridiculed or I feel at times, I'm not equipped enough to respond to why I believe what our Church has taught us. Something I am working on!

    Pastor Niemoeller's words are haunting because it is true when we let evil go on the slope gets steeper and steeper.

    God bless!

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  8. Victor,
    You mean maybe the Lord is using my lack of computer skills to draw our attention to what happens when good people don't speak up? Hmmm...I like that thought :) I have no choice but to leave it anyway since I have no idea how to remove it.
    Yes, I agree, Church leaders need to speak up LOUDLY because so many people look to them for help these days and they are called to use the gift of exhortation that God has given them. As you said, this goes for all denominations.

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  9. Hi Noreen,
    I think this is probably something that we all have to work on because you're right about it not being easy. I always have to tamper down that "what will people think of me" feeling. It's gotten a bit easier over the years but I sometimes still find myself trying to "people please" instead of "God please".

    I got shivers the first time I read Pastor N's words. We can see how failing to speak up has led to the death of many, many millions over the years, including the littlest ones of all - the unborn babies.

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  10. Go back to your post click EDIT POST,

    make sure that you are in in EDIT HTML window.

    Scroll down to the bottom on your post and around your white backgrounded words you should find programming before and after the affected words.

    The programming around those words will be enclosed in <> signs. Delete everything in the <>'s before and after the affected writing.

    Hope that helps.

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  11. Thank you, Puff. I was hoping someone would know in case it happens again :) I checked it but didn't touch it because there were a number of those signs even in the middle of the sentence. I should preview my posts but I rarely do. I think I'll start, though. I appreciate the info!

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  12. Mary, another well-written post. Only thing bothering me is Mary and PJP II called and went after the communists, and some of the union leaders have abused power to where some have retirement benefits they didn't pay into; eg public school teachers & some govt workers in some states; I think I'd like to substitute those with unborn babies and Catholics.

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  13. Colleen,
    Yeah, if they were my words I would have changed them, too. I put up the quote because of the point the Pastor was making on not speaking up. Abortion was the first thing that came to my mind when I read his words. Thanks for commenting!

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  14. My dear Mary,

    This post,your writing on this post, is so on fire with the Holy Spirit! Your words about deadly silence, about people afraid to speak out speak about TODAY! Fear verses courage, the choice is OURS every day. We must decide, what price are we willing to pay? Christ paid the ultimate price, so do we follow? or do we back down? This is the choice.

    Wow, do I love this post!!!! You challenge your readers! You challenge me!

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  15. Thank you so much for your kind words, DG :) I really think that God is asking us to stand up and use the gifts He has graced us with. Things will never change if Christians back down in the face of evil. As Edmond Burke said,"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing." And he's right. Funny, this is the third time I've used this quote today - and it's a good one!

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  16. Mary, love your post. That quote always gives me the chills but I never knew who said it!! Hugs and blessings!

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  17. Hi Colleen! I love the quote too:) I sent you an e-mail, if you don't get it could you let me know? Thanks!

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  18. I think most people won't speak up out of fear. There are many levels to this fear. If we all asked ourselves, "What do I really have to lose if I speak up?" and the answer comes "Everything but my soul," and if our eyes were truly focused on heaven as our true home, perhaps we would be less afraid of losing what we have on earth. I am reminded of what Jesus said about forsaking family and earthly possessions to come and follow Him. We say we love Him, but a lot of times we don't want to go where He is leading us.

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