Church, How Can We Be So Silent?
How can we continue to keep silent when the world has been fighting for so long and we don’t make a sound?
Written last February 2020
Last Saturday, I attended a Bible conference. The main theme was: the Bible and hard questions. There were a lot of great insights, but one thing that got me was the last message. It was the Bible, tragedy, and suffering. With what has been going on in the world, the topics have been significant and had made an impact on how I view the Bible.
The Bible speaks loud and clear on its authority, on how the word of God is not dependent on the reaction and interpretation of people. The Bible has been carefully written, cross-checked and critiqued, but it continues to stands as a powerful authority, one that we cannot change.
We also tackled how the Bible views prosperity. God wants us to prosper. But, saying our poverty is due to our lack of faith is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible. God wants us to glorify him through our prosperity. And, He also wants us to glorify Him even if and when we live in poverty.
The significance of the Bible and women serving in the ministry was also discussed. This has been a heated debate that I’ve come to acknowledge as I continue to serve in the church. But at the end of the day, the question is, “Why shouldn’t women be in the ministry? Why should we limit women when all they want is to serve and glorify the Lord?”
The fourth topic was one was close to my heart. This talks about the Bible and the LGBT issue. For the past years, there have been more heated debates as to how the Christian should react with the LGBTQIA+. Should we condemn them or love them as they are? My stand is a balance of both, but how do we do that? The speaker explained this topic in a research-driven and personal manner. As he struggled with same-sex attraction, he shared that the church he was in never condemned or told him he was going to hell. He never felt any judgment or hatred while he was with them. All he felt was love and inclusivity. Until one day, he woke up, and slowly but surely, chose to be a cis-person. His personal experience made me rethink my stance. I ask myself, “How can I show love and rebuke to this person if I haven’t built a deep relationship with them?” Deep and loving relationships always come first.
The fifth topic is another topic I hold dear. This speaker talked about the Bible and depression. His testimony has been beautiful and heartbreaking. Hearing the words he had uttered when he had been depressed brought tears to my eyes. His experiences also made me recall the year when I had depression when I was in the height of serving in the ministry. The speaker expressed how the Bible shared so many laments, there is no doubt God knows what we feel when we cry out to Him from the depths of our hearts. Like him, there is no happily ever after yet, but I know He is with me. He hears me, and He sees me. And He loves me.
The last topic is the Bible and tragedy. It was a great ending to a great conference. The tragedy he speaks of is what is currently happening in the world. World war 3, novel and unknown viruses, global warming, extrajudicial killings, and corruption are some of the many things that anger me when thinking, “Why can’t we do something?” And this was discussed in this topic.
So dear Church, here is my letter.
We, as Christians, know how draining it is to hear all the current events. Our hearts may question His authority, sovereignty, and His goodness. But we know, intellectually, that God has not forsaken us. He has a reason, even though we may not know what it is.
Dear Church, you have taught us to refuse our anger and frustration blind us from the bigger picture, that there is a God, and He is real. We cannot see the whole picture yet, but a big part of that is God. We trust that He is planning everything.
But Church, something has disturbed me and stuck with me in this part of the conference. During the question and answer part, someone asked,
“Is the church being vocal enough about what has been happening in the world?”
What the speaker said was a sharp rebuke that stopped me in my tracks. It was my main takeaway from the whole event.
The speaker responded, “Church, how can you not say anything?”
So, Church, how can we not say anything?
So many things are happening in this world. Why do we stay silent?
Church, I’m not demanding that we take a political stand. I’m not asking to be a part of the opposition or whatever side is morally correct.
But, I’m simply asking: Why are we so silent? Shouldn’t the church be the salt and light to the world? How can we do that if we don’t say anything with what has been going on? Can’t we have a say on the corrupt officials who have been using our money for their means and not for the country? Shouldn’t we be speaking out on the extrajudicial killings? What about kids who are affected by sex trafficking and child abuse? Their lives are traumatized while we stand there looking at the greener side.
Church, what are we doing? I agree the messages in the church are helpful for our walk with God. I understand that. I even look forward to some of those messages. It talks of discipleship and biblical principles.
But what about our social impact? Church, what about them? What do we do when the government decides not to prioritize its people? Church, what is our response when mental health and the stigma is improving while the church remains the same? Church, what is our response? How can we continue to keep silent when the world has been fighting for so long and we don’t make a sound? Church, how can we be so silent? How can we not say anything?
Earlier last month, someone asked me what the stand of our church is in a social issue that has been talked about recently, especially in the news. I had a personal stand, a major part of its reasoning is because of my stand as a Christian, but a minor part of it is because of the world we are living in today. But sadly, I do not know the stand of my church.
Throughout the days, I felt a sense of anger and disappointment, because of the lack of knowledge I had with the social issues and how my church is dealing with them.
Do I love my church? Yes.
Do I believe that my church is perfect? No.
But do I believe my church is doing the best it can? Yes.
I had a short chat with one of the leaders after that. I asked her the stand of the church and why we are silent. I understood when they meant the church doesn’t want to gain attention to the public in a negative manner. The church is getting so much heat from what has been happening.
But I can’t help but have a nagging sensation. How can we stand by idly and turn a blind eye when that’s what we are not supposed to do? Church, what has become of us? Who took your voice and convinced you that you have no place in this world?
Church, why did you stay silent?
Speak up. Not of hatred. But of love.
Do not turn a blind eye. We are accountable for our actions.
Church, it’s time to stop staying silent. Speak up.
It’s time to stop playing blind. Open your eyes.
It’s time to stop clenching your fist. Help the ones we can.
Church, it’s time to stop being silent.