The news is filled with stories of people all over the world being persecuted by corrupt governments, dictatorships and extremists of various kinds such as Boko Haram, desiring to silence anyone who does not accept their ideology. It would seem that much of the mainstream media ignores the stories and fails to engage people in speaking out against the terror. As followers of Christ, we have an obligation to pray for and do what we can to speak out and help others that are suffering. It doesn’t matter if they live in our cities and towns or not. We should not ignore their pleas.
As I was reading Proverbs 31 today, verses 8 and 9 really stood out. 8 Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die.9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. Is the church fulfilling it’s obligation to do this? Are we spending time on our knees interceding for those who are speechless, for those who are being martyred daily, for those who cannot care for themselves? I know many of our churches are giving to missions and helping in areas that are near and dear to our hearts but I can’t help but believe there is so much more we could be doing.
There are actions we can take on a slightly more political angle. We can sign petitions speaking out against some of these horrors. We can write letters to our members of parliament and request they get involved in some of the solutions. Our church families can pool resources and give to those who are combatting some of these issues such as International Christian Concern ( www.persecution.org ) who stand up for and assist the persecuted, abused and neglected. It is so important that we don’t just ignore the pleas of those suffering. The word of God tells us we have an obligation to help do what we can! Not only that but God promises to take care of those who care for the needs of others.
The book of Proverbs is chock full of examples..
Proverbs 11:25 NKJV 25 The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.
Proverbs 28:27 NKJV 27 He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses.
Proverbs 22:9 NKJV 9 He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.
Proverbs 3:27-28 NKJV 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.28 Do not say to your neighbor,“Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” when you have it with you.
Proverbs 14:21 NKJV 31 He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.
Proverbs 17:5 NKJV 5 He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
Proverbs 19:17 NKJV 7 He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given.
Proverbs 21:13 NKJV 13 Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.
Proverbs 21:15 NKJV 15 It is a joy for the just to do justice, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.
Proverbs 22:22-23 NKJV 22 Do not rob the poor because he is poor, nor oppress the afflicted at the gate;23 For the Lord will plead their cause, and plunder the soul of those who plunder them.
Proverbs 23:10-11 NKJV 10 Do not remove the ancient landmark, nor enter the fields of the fatherless;11 For their Redeemer is mighty; He will plead their cause against you.
God has called us to serve. His word reminds us over and over again that we are not to neglect others. He will hold us accountable for the things we could have done and didn’t do. Why not ask Him what He would have you do? Where can you be most useful in serving? Why not be a voice for the suffering? Why not speak out for those who are persecuted? Why not contribute to an organization that is making a difference in helping the suffering? If we all do our part, others will see the body of Christ as the light we have been called to be. Perhaps it’s time we push off the bushel we have been hiding under and let our light and love shine in this dark world of ours.
If we remain silent and refuse to act when we see atrocities being committed, are we any different than the rest of the world? We have a voice that we can use to speak out, educate and intercede for others. Let’s use our voices, first in prayer and second in pleading on behalf of those who can’t speak for themselves, the persecuted, the needy and the poor.