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The sin of keeping silent

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POSTED: April 15, 2013 7:00 p.m.

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1 KJV).

I have been a Christian for the past 30 years. During that time, it seems to me that the liberal voices in the media and world have become much more prominent than the conservative voices from within the church.  
During this period of time, I have witnessed the Holy Scriptures — the Word of God — unfold before my very eyes. Our love and appreciation for life is diminishing as heinous murdering sprees are glamorized across newsreels with no sense of remorse.
Men have become lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. We have a religious form of godliness, but it seems to bring about no change in how we choose to live our lives (2 Timothy 3: 1-5).
As evil continues to rise, we barely hear a whisper of a voice from the religious right and our churches. It seems as though we’ve grown silent on many of the pertinent issues facing our society.  
Don’t get me wrong, I hear articulate sermons being preached by very loquacious preachers every Sunday from behind pulpits across this nation. However, it is the public voice and outcry against unrighteousness that seems to have grown quiet over the years because we don’t want to offend.
I realize that part of that silencing is because our Constitution supports the separation of church and state. However, it seems to me that we on the Christian right have forgotten that the same Constitution gives us the right to free speech as well — not just on Sunday and not just from inside the church walls.  
Last year, I was pleasantly surprised by the fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A’s vocal support of the biblical standard for holy matrimony versus the liberal agenda of same-sex marriage.  
Chick-fil-A’s public support was very refreshing to hear and observe.  However, I could not help wondering, “Where is the support and the voice of the church and the religious right?” We seemed to be silent.
Although many believed that Chick-fil-A and its Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy capitulated under pressure from the liberal-left agenda, I was encouraged just to hear a voice that refused to be silent on such a controversial issue, speaking loudly on such a public stage.
It reminded me of what took place in 1962 when the U.S. Supreme Court, bolstered by atheists such as Madalyn Murray O’Hair, ruled that “official prayer” had no place in public education and other agencies of the government. And while the liberal atheists on the left were talking loud and very publicly, the church seemed to remain silent on the matter. The result allowed atheists to hinder God’s influence in many of the public arenas in our society.  
I’m not advocating that the church become angry or exclusive of those who oppose what we believe, nor am I suggesting that we become intolerant against those who practice a lifestyle contrary to what we believe.  
I am suggesting that we exercise our constitutional right to not be silent in our homes, jobs and social places, as well as in the church.  
Our voices may have been silenced by the Constitution in certain public arenas, but when you find yourself in those public places, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 KJV).
When you can’t speak with your mouth, speak with your life! We can see a sermon just as well as we can hear one. Whatever you do, don’t be a closet Christian.  

Betton is the pastor of Temple of Praise Church Ministries and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.

 

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