When a string of controversial events occurs in our nation—whether that be a violation of human rights, a questionable expression of the First Amendment or a disputable decision made by our legislators—it becomes very easy for us to get stuck in a state of complacency. Either we turn a blind eye because we believe it does not directly affect us or we feel like there is very little we can do to better the situation.
While those things may be true to some extent, does that mean we shouldn’t care?
These events may not directly affect you, but there are people whose lives are consumed by the atrocities that are occurring in this nation. They are forced into action because it may mean the loss of their basic human rights—their healthcare, their ability to work, their access to social programs, their dignity, their self-worth or even their life.
In the meantime, we choose to remain in the comfort of our ignorance and pretend there are not people suffering among us. Being complacent when we see injustice is a privilege in and of itself. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The time comes when silence is betrayal.” What has to happen in order for us to say something?
If your decision to take action is determined by whether or not an issue is political or social, perhaps the real questions you should be asking yourself are these: Is this something Jesus cares about? Is this a person Jesus loves?
If the answer to those questions is yes, what are you willing to risk in order to bring shalom to our society? Are you willing to give up your privilege, your complacency or your silence?
Surrendering your indifference is painful, but there has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change. We shouldn’t shy away from having these difficult conversations simply because we are afraid of them being labeled as “too political.”
The goal is not to create more division, but rather to understand the struggles people are facing and create reconciliation. The call to love your neighbor gets politicized all too often. But sometimes political action is necessary in order to love your neighbor well.
We have the ability to create change. In order to do this, it is essential to listen humbly and educate ourselves on all sides of the issue. Read an article. Start a dialogue. Engage in civil and respectful discourse with people who may have opposing beliefs. Think critically about what is happening in the world and what your role is in all of it. Then take action.
It is not enough to simply acknowledge the issues that are plaguing our nation and remain a silent bystander. You have a voice, whether or not you believe you do. Don’t do nothing just because you can’t do everything.