Ashley Qualls was murdered in the middle of the night on July 9, 2013. She was walking home from work when a few men on bicycles confronted her. There was an argument. Shots rang out. The men rode away into the night, leaving Ashley’s lifeless body on the street.
The case still has not been solved.
There are many reasons why. Here are two. Cowardice and compromise. Many of the people in that large city who have insight into he murder are simply too scared to say anything about it. They’re afraid that the criminals will come for them next. Others are compromised. They don’t want to talk to the police because they had some involvement, if not with the murder itself at least with the men who committed it. Their own closeted skeletons prevent them from saying anything.
When good people were needed to make a stand against evil, cowardice and compromise kept them from doing the right thing.
Many of today’s Christians have a lot in common with the folks in that city. In the face of evil, they do nothing. They are too scared. Too scared of being labeled a bigot. Too scared of being outnumbered. Others have been compromised. While Jesus told his disciples to pray, “Deliver us from evil,” these Christians are too busy embracing evil or voting for the lesser of two evils to actually make a stand against evil. It’s hard to stand against something that you’ve already embraced.
The world has gone nuts. Our president is acting like a king. Partly due to his actions, little girls are scared to go into public restrooms because of the men who are now encouraged to go in with them. And their parents are scared to do anything to stop them for fear of being labeled discriminatory or a hater.
In the church’s silence, others have risen up to speak. They rant on social media IN ALL CAPS ABOUT HOW MUCH THEY HATE LIBERALS AND HOW THEY’D LIKE TO KILL ANY PERV THAT COMES INTO THE BATHROOM WHILE THEIR DAUGHTER IS IN THERE. They run for president and wear red hats that tell us to make America great again, all the while embracing the very evil their supporters hope they’ll abolish. Both are only making the problems worse.
The last thing we need is more angry political talk. And if you think that either evil presidential candidate is going to offer any legitimate solutions, you are terribly mistaken. One thing history has taught us is that you should never expect godly consequences from godless leaders.
What we could really use is a few people like John the Baptist.
John the Baptist lived under a tyrannical ruler the Bible calls Herod. When Herod stole his brother’s wife and made her his own, John had the audacity to speak against it.
If this were happening today, imagine what John’s friends would tell him.
“John, settle down. This Herod isn’t as evil as the other Herod.”
“John, just stick to the Bible. Preachers aren’t supposed to talk about anything else.”
If anyone said that to John, it’s obvious that he didn’t listen. He spoke to Herod. And he was blunt. “It is not lawful for you to have her” (Matthew 14:4).
For his efforts, John was thrown in prison by the tyrannical Herod. But John wasn’t like today’s loudmouth real estate mogul or ALL CAPS FACEBOOK WARRIOR. Sure, he stood up for the truth but he did so in a loving way. We know this because while John was in prison, Herod enjoyed visiting him to listen to what he had to say (Mark 6:20). Herod didn’t like being called out but he liked the one who called him out. John’s loving boldness earned him a platform before the evil ruler.
But all of that changed.
Herod was tricked into making the decision to remove John’s head from John’s body.
That’s the part where a lot of Christians misrepresent the story of John the Baptist. They tell us that the point of the passage is that you need to keep your opinions on political or controversial issues to yourself or you could lose your head. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real point of the passage is that it is better to die for God’s glory than to live for your own. As I write this, John the Baptist is doing just fine. Herod is not.
This is an extremely important lesson for the Church today. We have been silent for too long. Or, we have been so loud and obnoxious that we might as well be silent. And when the church is silent, the culture suffers.
Now, perhaps more than at any other moment in my lifetime, we need to quit letting presidential candidates speak for us. We need to speak. And we need to do so in a clear, loving, bold and humble way.
If your kid’s school allows boys to go into your daughter’s restroom or dressing room, confront them on it.
You’ll be surprised at what happens when one person refuses to drink the poison Kool-Aid. So rather than figuring out the lesser of two evils, let’s just get back to what Jesus told us to do. Let’s stand against it. Let’s resist it. Let’s pray for God to deliver us from it.
A while back I got an e-mail regarding the team my son plays on. Parents were being asked to pay a few bucks in order to buy new socks for every kid on the team to wear that month. The pink socks were to raise awareness for breast cancer and the money raised would go toward cancer research. But not just any cancer research. The particular organization receiving these funds supported Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider.
I responded to the e-mail by stating that my family would not be taking part in this fundraiser because we value human life and we are pro-life. I DIDN’T CALL ANYONE NAMES AND I DIDN’T WRITE MY E-MAIL IN ALL CAPS. And I didn’t look for the lesser of two evils. I just resisted the evil.
Not much time passed before the guy in charge of the entire league contacted me. He told me that he wasn’t aware of the abortion link and he asked me for other organizations that fought breast cancer without giving to Planned Parenthood. The league ended up raising hundreds of dollars for breast cancer research. And they raised none for abortion. All because one regular idiot like me decided to stand against evil rather than finding the diet version of evil.
When the church is silent, the culture suffers.
When the church is compromised, the culture worsens.
When the church is courageous, Christ is glorified.
Our courage may cost us our heads. But it’s better to die without them in devotion to Christ than to live with them in slavery to the ever changing whims of the culture.