Stand Up and Be Counted
"When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was in the wrong."1
On more than one occasion Jesus confronted the Pharisees in no uncertain terms for their hypocritical behavior, as did the Apostle Paul to Peter in the above Scripture verse. So when is it right for us to confront others and when do we need to keep silent? How do we know when we are reacting in proportion to what has happened or if we are overreacting? When someone attacks us personally, when do we turn the other cheek? Or when we see wrong in society, business, or politics, should we speak out or should we look the other way and say nothing?
When people attacked Jesus and accused Him falsely, He remained totally nondefensive and said nothing because He had nothing to hide. On the other hand, when people misused the house of God and used people for their own ends, or tried to hide their hypocrisy behind a facade of religious piety, or loved their man–made legalistic rules more than they loved people, Jesus spoke out against them in no uncertain terms.
The bottom line is our motive. Jesus always did what He did because He loved God and He loved people. He attacked evil and wrong head on because it was destructive to those whom God loves—us. Furthermore, Jesus always spoke with authority but was never authoritarian, rigid, controlling or manipulative because He always acted out of pure motives and had no hidden agenda.
What we need to do if we are going to make an impact in our world is, first of all, to acknowledge our own shortcomings and with God's help, work to overcome these. Second, we need to love the things God loves and hate the things he hates and speak out against the things God hates as Jesus did. We need to be angry with these too. We simply cannot love righteousness without hating unrighteousness.
Remember that meekness is not weakness, and also the words of Edmund Burke who said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me the insight to discern that which is right and that which is wrong, and give me the courage to stand up and be counted, speak out against and confront the wrong, but always in a loving and Christ–like manner. And help me always to be willing to do my part to bring about change. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Galatians 2:11 (NIV).