*This is a follow-up article to Silence of the Saints
There are those who will run into a burning building to save anyone trapped inside and those who jump out of their car on the side of the highway to help victims of a car accident. Our world is also sprinkled with people who will hand out food to those without a meal and hold a door open for a mama with a baby clutched tightly. Where ever you land in this mix of helpfulness most hold this in common; at some point, the majority of humanity will step forward and help those who need it in some capacity.
If you see a child being bullied how will you respond? Are you willing to step between the child and the bully, possibly being wounded in the process? You have a choice to step out of the silence and into the situation to help the child or you can sit quietly and pretend to ignore it. What about if it is a woman being assaulted in a park, will you step in to help or keep walking?
Some of you might be thinking that stepping in is all or nothing like going into a burning building. It’s not. The help you can give someone in a harmful situation is vast. It may be as small as calling the police or as big as jumping into a raging river to rescue someone from drowning. The point is, we need to not be silent bystanders.
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. –James 4:17
Complacency often coincides with moral decisions of right and wrong, which in turn can result in disobedience. We see this in multiple places throughout scripture and I believe I can confidently say that each one of us struggles with complacency.
Jonah didn’t care for the instructions God gave him and in his disobedience, he was also complacent. Jonah was found soundly sleeping below the deck of the ship he was on during a major storm instead of helping with all that was happening on the deck. God didn’t ignore Jonah’s sins and he had to walk through the consequences of his choices.
Another example is with David. Interestingly enough we see David give the illustration of both movement and complacency. In 1 Samuel we see David take unlikely action against Goliath and strike him down with a simple stone prevailing against the giant in the name of the Lord. Then in 2 Samuel we see another side of David; he chooses to stay behind from the battle that all of the kings would attend and winds up getting himself into a mess of trouble all in the name of self-gain.
I think in some aspect, we can all identify with Jonah and David. We all face moments of either moving forward or ignoring the conviction placed on our hearts. Complacency can be the easy way out, but it is the most detrimental. We are drawn to complacency because let’s face it, it’s easier to ignore an issue than it is to engage. There isn’t anything immediately on the line for us personally if we sit in silence. We often only choose to move when the missile is pointed directly at us or the bomb has already struck our personal bubble.
Complacency has many faces, but it only serves one god, the god of self-gain.
When we are complacent with knowing God we then become complacent in living out the indicatives and imperatives given to us in Scripture. This then results in us becoming a silent bystander when we should be engaging in the battle in some regard. As Christ-followers when we witness an injustice, whether within our family, the four walls of our church, the church body as a whole, or in the world, we need to prayerfully consider how we are to step outside of the silence and engage. God calls us to action, not silence.
Questions for Consideration:
- Where is God calling you to move into action?
- Where are you being complacent in your own life?
- Where are you being complacent in the lives of others?
- Pray for those on your heart.
- Bring your concerns to the necessary people.
- If someone has been hurt and you don’t feel led to speak up for them, let them know that you are aware of the injustice and standing with them.