Speak Up!

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Silence is golden – but sometimes it is yellow.

I will never forget hearing that statement some years ago which describes how many of us know something is wrong, but it is easier to be silent. Could it be that we are living in a period in our history where silent people must become vocal?

There is the old illustration of the frog in the boiling water. If you boil the water in the pot on the stove first and put the frog in it, he will jump out immediately because the water is too hot. But if you put the frog in the pot when the water is cool it will be comfortable for him. If you gradually heat the water the frog will slowly sense the intense heat, but not act on it. Eventually the heat reaches the degree to which it kills the frog.

It is so easy in society today to be slowly desensitized by ideas, philosophies, and morals that run counter to the Bible. The Bible has always been truth. Each civilization of history must apply the Bible responsibly to its given cultural situation. Every successful nation has had people who would stand up and say, “Thus saith the Lord.”

Look at the history of our nation. We have our freedoms today because there was a firm conviction in the minds of our forefathers that someone had to stand up and speak truth – politically and religiously – without regard to the consequences.

Patrick Henry was willing to stand up and speak out. He said, “There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God. I know not what course others may take but as for me give me liberty or give me death.”

Patrick Henry’s famous quote, “Give me liberty or give me death” was based on his firm Christian commitment. He wrote in his Bible, “I am a real Christian, that is to say a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator, and I hope to the pure doctrines of Jesus also.”

On April 19, 1775, Nathan Hale, a teacher from Connecticut, volunteered for General George Washington’s army to fight against the British. When Washington marched his army onto Manhattan Island, he needed someone who would go behind the British lines and bring back strategic information.

Nathan Hale volunteered. He spent several days behind British lines. As he was making his way back to the American side, he was captured by the British. Some have even suggested that he was betrayed by a cousin who had become fearful that the British would win and he wanted to be on the winning side. Nathan Hale was ordered to be hanged on September 22, 1776. His last words were, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

America has never survived by relying on part-time patriots, half committed politicians, or silent religious leaders!

We must speak up! As the Nazi regime was growing in the 1940’s, a great Christian pastor, Martin Niemoller, wrote, “In Germany the Nazis came for the Communists and I did not speak up because I was not a Communist; then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak up because I was not a Jew; then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak up because I was not a trade unionist; then they came for the Catholics and I was a Protestant so I did not speak up; then they came for me and by that time there was no one to speak up for anyone.”

Speaking up is golden!!

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