We need to reject silence in the face of political violence in Zambia. 1 Corinthians 13 comes to mind. Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever truth wins out. This is certainly a call to Christ followers to be actively in the pursuit of justice and truth. We should be drawn to what is true and what is right because they are of the character of God.
History is full of those who have put their life at peril and some have even given their lives in the pursuit of justice and truth. The litany of names throughout history of those that have stood up to injustice and have been killed for their stand goes on and on and on. Love demands that we pursue what is right and what is true and what is eternal even unto death. So many of us cower away from the truth if it is going to cost us something. Do you, do I, seek justice and rejoice in God’s eternal truth?
When Jesus calls us to be His witnesses to Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, He is asking us for more than some quick words and a three-point testimony or three-point sermon. He’s asking us to stick our necks out. “Where duty call or danger, be never wanting there!”
Just look at how Jesus Himself witnessed to people in life-and-death situations. When He was asked to condemn the woman caught in adultery, He first courageously addressed the injustice in front of Him. Before He told her to “Go, and sin no more,” He dispersed the religious authorities that wanted to stone her.
How I wish I could see Christians going and doing likewise by addressing the injustice in front of them. But in the situations of injustice I’ve seen, too often church people have been bystanders, not witnesses. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Increasing political violence has now gripped my beloved country Zambia. It is alarming. The defining silence of the Church and Christians is most saddening. Where are the righteousness? Where is justice? Where is action to prove faith? The continued violence now going on in Zambia is harming the country’s image as a peaceful nation, and consequently this will negatively affect foreign investment and tourism. Most of all the Silence of the church in the face of violence is itself violence: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
We have seen enough injustice and once you start witnessing injustice, you cannot stop. Once you see the faces of people telling unvarnished stories, once you start feeling real anger and rage about ugliness in this world, you cannot go back to being a bystander.
Witnessing for Christ gives us another gift. It gives us a window into worlds of bravery— “victims” who make us proud to be human. Learning from them is the prize.
In witnessing the resilience of brave victims of injustice, I’m seeing that courage gets easier with practice. I’ve seen that by muting my anger, I am also muting my joy. I’ve found that hidden in the merest engagement with injustice, Jesus is hunkered down, holding out a morsel of fish.
Blessed are those who stick their necks out. Blessed are those who move, baby-step by baby-step, away from ignoring injustice.
Blessed are the witnesses. And most blessed of all are the resilient people we witness: in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Do we have what it takes to be such Christians who will not stand in the face of injustice? Do we have the guts to stand up against those who oppress others? Do we have the guts to help free victims of political violence in Zambia? Do we?
What does this say about our generation, me included? We sit blindly by as fellow country men and women die in the face of political violence and yet complain that the government is doing nothing while we sit on our couches recite verses from the Bible and do nothing ourselves. We think someone else will fight for justice and we sit on our couches waiting for THEM to do something.
You and I know the things that are wrong in our country and this world. You and I know what is against the nature of God. You and I know what grieves the heart of God when He looks at our country Zambia. Let us step up to the plate. Let us be a generation remembered for caring more about the plight of our fellow man than about how many theological books are sitting on our shelves and a lot of theology in our heads.
Let us be a generation that knows what truth and justice are and are willing to die for it. Injustice and evil will continue as long as we are silent. When we are silent, we accept evil and injustice being poured out on our fellow occupants of this blue ball called Earth. Let us not go quietly into the night. Let us not give up without a fight. Let us be remembered as a generation that fought for the downtrodden and the oppressed. Let us be remembered as a generation that expressed love for others by fighting against oppression. Let us be remembered as a generation that sought truth and justice rather a generation that was more concerned with its own entertainment as the world burns around them. Let us not be remembered as a generation that allowed the country to burn around us but all we wanted to was dance.
Martin Luther Jr once said,” An Individual has not started living fully until they can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity. Every person must decide at some point, whether they will walk in light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment: Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’ As quoted by Coretta Scott King in The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Politics encourages us to dehumanize our opponents and, as a result, we dehumanize ourselves. Yes, Politics is inhuman.
As human beings, we have the capacity for reason. With it comes the capacity to engage with others reasonably. If you want to change my mind about something, the best, most humane way to do it is via peaceful persuasion. Raise arguments. Question mine. Try to show me the error of my ways. That’s what good people do when they disagree. I hate to see the level of violence now in Zambia!