Proverbs 31:8-9 (NLT)
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” The first nine verses of this final chapter of Proverbs are written from a mother’s perspective to her son, King Lemuel, regarding how he should conduct himself as a person with authority and influence. The general principle is not just for those who attain high office, but for every person who claims to be a follower of God: We are called to not only speak up for the less fortunate, but to take action on their behalf.
I have found that most people have an inferiority complex of sorts when it comes to the difference they can make in the world. Most of us don’t fancy ourselves to be a 21stcentury MLK or Ghandi or William Wilberforce. We are just ordinary people with no access to any kind of real power. Nobody knows your name and your one vote in a sea of millions and millions doesn’t really matter. The problems are too big, and the resources are too scarce. Man is deeply flawed and sinful and besides…Jesus said the poor would always be with us (Jn. 12:8).
It’s been said that the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy. To know of a need or a hurt or some injustice and choose to do nothing. It’s a powerful point. So, what can you possibly do that makes a difference? Run for office? Give money to a candidate or a cause? Take to social media and alert your friends and call them to action? Yes! All of the above, and more…but the call could not be more obvious: Every Believe is called to Do Something!
First, make sure you are speaking up for and taking action on behalf of the marginalized people you are close to at work or school or even in church. Your moral culpability is strongest with respect to your daily life and surroundings. From there, ask God to burden your heart for a just cause like the lives of the unborn, or the mentally ill, or the physically disabled, or the racially marginalized. There is no shortage of injustice in this world. Finally, and most importantly…engage. Do what you can for who you can. Don’t “bury your talent” (Mth. 25) but invest it wisely. God will not be pleased with anything less.