Often, when tragedy strikes, people will question why God could allow the event to happen in the first place. This is a knee jerk response to tragedy in an effort to externalize the events to God, because facing the reality of the situation is too painful. I cannot blame folks for doing this, pain hurts and if we can give the pain to God and hold Him accountable for it, perhaps it makes the pain slightly more bearable on our part.
One of the things we miss is the tragedy is often the end result of a long line of inaction by those who could have changed the results and were in the right place to do so. There were Christians in position to make a difference and speak up for those without a voice, but they chose to stay silent so as not to risk their position. Jesus reminded us in Matt 12: 35-37,
“The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings for evil. I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
When we ask where was God when tragedy strikes, perhaps we should look more closely and see how many Christians stayed silent before the event happened. God has an army of Christians around the world, in all governments and institutions, who are faced daily with the decision to either worship God or mammon.
- When a business does not invest profits into updates and repairs and a terrible tragedy strikes that results in the loss of life and destruction of property, you can bet there were Christians in the decision-making process who stayed silent or acquiesced to the decision for shareholder value, prestige, or position.
- When a government maintains unjust laws on its books, you can rest assured there are Christians involved in the process looking the other way to injustice so as not to rock the boat and cost them status or promotion in the future.
- When a case comes to court and injustice rules the day, you can be guaranteed Christians stayed silent during the proceedings and investigation and did not questions the statements or ruling to not risk their future.
- When government or businesses pile debt upon debt and pass it on to others or declare a bankruptcy to pass the debt to others, there were Christians in place to say no, but they stayed silent and likely profited in the process.
- And let us not forget the endless wars. Christians not only stay silent in opposition to endless war, they can most often be found sounding the trumpet for more.
There are many more examples that could be highlighted, but the point I hope is made. Jesus described his disciples as the salt of the earth and light of the world, but our salt today has lost its taste and we have placed our light under a basket (Matt 5: 13-16).
What Christians often do when faced with injustice is go along to get along, while benefiting in the process. Sure, in each example above, speaking up in the face of injustice may result in the loss of a job, a loss of prestige, or a loss of a future promotion, but staying silent for selfish gain is the first sin that enabled the greater sin to occur later. Our silence is agreement.
When will Christians recognize God has deployed an army throughout the world and given us gifts to climb into positions where we can make a difference for the kingdom of God? A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, so when Christians bear bad fruit through their silence in the face of injustice, we must recognize they are not the healthy Christians they think they are.
What we have done is ignored our role in the kingdom to be merciful and compassionate to those without a voice. We want the fruit of Jesus’ sacrifice without any costs on our part. We will never face persecution in this world when we maintain silence in the face of evil because we are actively working against the kingdom of God by saying silent. We are no threat to darkness, we are its friend.
We stay silent and do not proclaim God’s justice and love because we fear the spotlight being turned to our professed faith. Therefore we do not acknowledge Jesus before others and should also expect Jesus not to acknowledge us before God (Matt10: 26-33). We have effectively sheathed Jesus sword of truth against injustice for wealth and status today.
God has not failed when tragedy strikes. He had a plan and placed Christians in position to keep the event from occurring, but they placed comfort ahead of righteousness and justice and stayed silent.
Christians have failed their God and those they are supposed to reach. We have worshiped mammon before Jesus and the world and people suffer because of it. Is it any wonder conversions are down, churches are closing, and people are rejecting Jesus?
When the non-believer says he has never met an authentic Christian, he is probably right. The world of business, government, and our neighborhoods and courts are all the evidence necessary for the silence of the righteous to injustice.