A few months ago I published an essay explaining the reasons why I feel that, not only as a minister but as a Christian and a human being, I am compelled to speak out in opposition to injustice and against the harsh treatment of the “least of these” as Jesus calls them. What I did not write about in that essay, was what happens when you face fall out from speaking out.
Jesus makes it pretty clear in his teachings that we have a gospel mandate to speak for the “least of these” in our daily lives. Now, the “least of these” might be in our city or town or they might be in another state or even another country, the point is, we have a gospel mandate, command if you will, to speak out in and on their behalf. Jesus also warns us that if and when we do speak out, we have to be prepared for the inevitable blowback that comes from such opposition.
In a recent United Church of Christ Daily Devotional, Tony Robinson writes that “If you want to make a difference, you will face some heat.” Tony then goes on to tell the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The story is that three refused to bow to anyone except God and that got them in a bit of trouble. Read the rest of the Daily Devotion Here.
The point of the story is if we are afraid to speak because of the consequences of our speaking out then we need to pray for the support and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It has been said by many that not speaking out in the face of injustice is akin to supporting the inequity. Not everyone is called to march, and not everyone is called to protest, but we are all called to speak out, and one way to do that is to support those who do.
Those who directly speak out will face a lot of opposition, I believe more so today than ever before, and they will need our support. If your pastor or minister is speaking out for the “least of these” and she/he is getting heat from folks in the congregation, come to their aid do not abandon them in their time of need. Speak out in support of those who are speaking out it will truly make a difference in their lives as well as the lives of the “least of these.”