Does that statement ring true to you? Are you a pacifist? Or is it passivist?
There seems to be two camps when it comes to Christians’ view on this topic and they are diametrically opposed. I want to explore the possibility that we both might be right. Or maybe it’s more of a spectrum, but let’s just focus on the two opposing views for now.
One camp believes that we are to be passive people, completely separate from world happenings, influencing a small sphere of people in our direct contacts, completely removed from politics, voting, or any kind of research when it comes to any controversial subjects that don’t really have any impact on whether we go to heaven or not. Most of these people do not have social media at all, and if they do, they are not very active. I admire these people because a lot of the time, they truly take their sphere seriously, they are active in their churches and communities, they do shine a light, and they are far from useless in the area God has called them to.
The Amish are probably the best example of the more extreme end of this. Especially the groups of Amish who have accepted Christ in a real way and actually have a relationship with him. The way they care for each other is beautiful, and some even have a ministry beyond their religious communities and draw others to Christ as they meet and witness. It’s a beautiful way of life, and I think it’s right. I know people in my own church who have chosen this way of life and I respect and admire them deeply. I would not saddle them with a burden other than the way God has called them to, for all the world.
There is a lot of scripture to back up this way of life. 2 Corinthians 6:17, calls us out to be separate from the world, and John 17:16 telling us we are not of this world but belong to a different kingdom are just 2 examples but there are more. All the verses about loving peace and living peaceful lives with others could be used to support this type of life.
They are a peaceful people who live conscientious lives for God and I think anyone would be inspired by how well they live and how truly their hearts are to please God in living out his will in their lives. These are the people who attend church more than the rest of us do (to our shame), they call those around them to live higher lives of holiness and goodness and I truly do not want to diminish or criticize this group of people whom I deeply admire and value.
The other camp believes that we as Christians are called to be activists. That when we see injustice, we must call it out. That where there is lies and corruption and evil, it is our duty as followers of Jesus (who did this very thing in all 3 of his years of ministry) to not be scared to enter into the messiness and controversy of our times. To take a firm stand against tyranny and injustice and lies…and to get involved in trying to stop it.
I do not believe that walking in that role goes against the verse to stay separate. I do not believe that shining a light on darkness is in any way unscriptural. I think that Jesus’ willingness to enter into the messiness of his times, standing up to the spiritual bullies of his day and calling them out (quite strongly at times) is evidence, along with many verses about being light and salt to the world around us, of girding ourselves with the armor of God, of being bold in the truth, that God calls some of us to activism.
I know “activist” has a bad taste for some of us. We think of the political side of things, and we cringe when that term is applied to us, but it is the opposite of pacifist and I haven’t found a better word yet, so I’m going with it.
Is advocate a better word?
Do you see that there is support in Scripture for both sides? I didn’t cite Scripture for the side I’m on because I’m on purpose trying to make the other side stronger. I want to steer clear of all strawman arguments here, so I’m being extra careful with supporting the other side, and I’m just laying out where I stand without much effort, because I don’t honestly think God calls all of us to this side of things.
I’m not here to convince you to join me in activism. I’m here for the sole purpose of suggesting that there might be two paths here and maybe….just maybe…they’re both valid.
I do, however, think that some of those who would consider being more active, have been silenced very effectively by the pacifist side of things with beliefs that are not quite accurate. Two things I’m hearing frequently I will address here. The first one is that knowing about corruption and the level of evil that is in this world only makes us upset and these peace-loving people realize clearly that it has the potential to rob them of peace. I want to dispel this myth with my own story of finding the deepest level of peace I’ve ever had the very same year I started on this journey of research and digging past the top layer of one of the particular stories we’re told to believe. Don’t get me wrong, I grieve and I get angry and sometimes I even get scared. But it drives me deeper into the arms of God and as I learn to go to him more and more, he becomes my peace and an ever present source of light when I encounter darkness. It makes my faith in him stronger, not weaker. I wrote a little about that here.
The second of these beliefs is that there has always been corruption, there will always be corruption, and there’s nothing we can do about it so we may as well accept it. It’s quite a hopeless view, and even though it is true that things will probably get much worse in the future, and nothing will be completely right until we get to heaven, I think it’s false to believe we are completely powerless. I don’t think we as Christians are powerless against evil, and something about giving up without even trying just irks me.
Did you know that the reason we are allowed to homeschool in this country is because of an Amish man? Wisconsin v. Yoder is the case of Jonas Yoder, who along with the support of his community, in 1972, was taken all the way to Supreme court and won the right to stop education at 8th grade, and for it to be recognized as a religious right for parents to educate their children at home or in private schools instead of giving them over to a government education.
I don’t know about you, but I wish I could hug this man in gratitude for the hard fight he was willing to fight, for his willingness to go to jail, to engage in civil disobedience that won him and us as future generations, the beautiful right to educate our children without complying with government curriculums.
That’s a right that is being threatened right now, by the way, just so you know. I’m not sure how much this right means to you, but it’s one of those things a pacifist might think is worth fighting for, but if you don’t want to get involved until they pass it as law, that’s your choice, of course.
If we look at the peaceful protests for civil rights, I think we can all agree that a lot of good came from them. Especially if we know someone who would still be suffering under the oppression of segregation. These people suffered in their fight for equality. They suffered greatly.
I think we woefully underestimate the simple power of telling the truth. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is credited with being instrumental in the bringing down of the soviet union, and all he did was speak the truth in written form, unflinchingly pouring out his heart and pointing out the atrocities he had witnessed in his book The Gulag Archipelago.
There are other men who have chosen to speak truth in trying times and had huge impact towards destroying the power of evil, and I don’t pretend to think anything I do will ever have as much of an impact, but it is sincerely done in an effort to be true to myself and my God. To answer the call to speak out against the injustice and tyranny I see. This is not complaining about my rights being threatened. My rights haven’t even been threatened yet. I’ve barely been inconvenienced. It’s the children being ripped away from mothers, it’s the people being killed, it’s the women being thrown to the ground by police officers “following orders” for not wearing a mask, it’s the rise in suicide deaths and deaths from abuse, it’s the unnecessary Nazi-like laws being passed that make absolutely no sense to anyone who is thinking critically, it’s the overreach of government into church gatherings, into healthcare, it’s the power I see being taken, and if you know your history at all, you know power once obtained is never easily returned. Times of crises are opportunities for control to be grasped and the greater the fear, the greater the control will be. Fear produces compliance.
I don’t share what I do lightly. I have prayed and wept and agonized over this path I feel led to walk, and I do none of it without a driving force of wanting to let God’s light shine through me. I honestly feel that God has called me to walk this path, and I am open to being wrong about this. I pray frequently that God would show me where I’m wrong, that he would wipe away deception and pride, that he would correct me when I’m wrong and give me wisdom in what to share and what to stay silent on.
If you only knew how much I’m staying silent about…if you only knew…
I was recently asked by a friend what we can do when people simply refuse to see the truth and when we feel so responsible for making them see it and like we just have to convince them because we see the dangerous path they’re on and care about them so much that we want to force them off of it, and I think by talking, so I’m very glad she asked me this. My reply was something like this:
There is no way to convince someone who doesn’t want to be convinced. It’s not our responsibility to force them to see anything they do not want to see. So my answer to how I can change the world is to change myself. Besides continuing to speak the truth and not back down from what I know to be true, I need to focus on what I can change to make my world better. To seek God with my whole heart. To value truth above everything else, to live wholly and completely for him. To love my husband and serve him in better ways. To be a better mom. To learn how to balance both worlds in a way that my family is not neglected. I’m not going to pretend this balance has been easy and I freely admit I still have much to learn.
I know two blog posts back I said I was going to be silent from now on about this virus situation, and then a few weeks later, I started sharing again. I am sorry for not being true to my word. But I was wrong when I said I would stop sharing, I am not wrong in sharing. You might not agree, but I said I would be silent because of the overwhelming pressure to shut up already that I was feeling from some people. I now believe that they were wrong in projecting that onto me. So although I may appear inconsistent, I am definitely still learning balance in this walk, and being quiet for times (and completely removing myself from social media at other times) is a very good thing, it doesn’t mean that God has called me to walk your walk.
I see this time as an excellent opportunity for Satan to unify the masses in fear and hatred for anyone who disagrees, and also an opportunity to sew discord among us as Christians. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we didn’t allow him to do that to us? What if we chose to support each other in whatever path God has called us to and simply trust that God will show us where we’re wrong, if indeed we are? To support each other in prayer and in reality instead of trying to silence each other or nitpick how we’re doing it wrong. I think that would be just glorious.
So I will end with this. I feel called by God to be an advocate/activist. To shine a light on corruption. To share the truth no matter what the consequences are, and to question authority when it is acting in a way that is harming and killing people. Please know that I share everything with a take-it-or-leave-it approach. I’m simply sharing the truth and the facts as I find them. I understand perfectly well that God may have called you to silence on these topics. He may have called you to walk a different path, one of a more focused light in your community, and I respect that with all my heart. I honor you in that path. May God bless you richly for it.
I do not believe, however, that God would call me to speak and also call you to silence me. So I beg you…just as I am seeking God’s will as I go forward, please seek him as well. Examine your heart on why what I’m sharing makes you want to silence me. Could it be that since God has not called you to speak on these things, the discomfort you feel about what I post is simply a result of this not being a part of your calling so it’s not necessary for you to be aware? Unfollowing is always an option and I beg you to take that route if what I say makes you upset or angry or causes you to judge me.
Just please give me the same grace that I am giving you. We’re in this walk towards God together…and my walk might look different than yours. We all have different gifts and the very vast array of the ways God gifts us is testimony to his love of diversity and differences among his children. Please don’t assume that your path in reaction to the corruption and lies we are surrounded by is the same path he wants everyone to walk.
I am not assuming this of you. It would be easy for me to quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” and then judge you for not speaking up about the evil in this world, but I am refusing to do this. I know that God calls us to different paths and I respect your walk with God enough to trust him and you. I’m simply asking you to do the same with me.
Thank you… with much love and hope… ❤
One thought on “Christians Cannot be Activists”
Thank you for following the Lord’s call on your life in speaking out. Blessings!
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