Do the good you feel compelled to do

The Standard November 12, 2020

What would we think of someone who felt convicted to stand up against something they perceived as a grave injustice yet failed to do so? Don’t we expect ourselves and others to act according to conscience, especially in matters that potentially could cause great harm?

On Election Day I was out at the polls working on behalf of a friend. There were two women who felt so strongly about their beliefs that they devoted long hours and spoke out publicly and peacefully for the good they wanted to see. One drove from Maryland to serve as a poll watcher because to her it was important to ensure that every legal vote was counted and that there was no voter suppression. The other was convicted that the rights of unborn children needed protection. Each was compelled to help the helpless or stand up for the powerless, each in her own way.

Since these two moral issues were close to the hearts of these women, I will use them as examples. This is not an evaluation of whether they are or are not equal in importance. Of course, the Bible does not include the words “voter suppression” or “abortion,” but we see passages which deal with such ideas.

“How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:2-4)  “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:7)  “He [Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4: 16-19a)

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16) “People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16)

No matter our political views, we should be concerned about people being treated fairly. We should determine from science when human life begins.  Rather than rolling our eyes or criticizing someone else for standing up peacefully for their deeply held convictions, we should expect them to. It would be wrong for them not to act. “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (James 4:17)

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