"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor"
Our world has turned a bit into a world of relativism. There's no right answers, everyone is correct, there's no definites. Sometimes, it's hard to figure out all the angles of a problem, and it's not as easy as saying this is the right answer, so no other answer can be correct. Sometimes, the problem appears to be way more gray than black or white. The worst kinds of problems tend to be the problems between groups of people. Someone hurts someone else in some way, and then the people around them are involved in one way or another. That's how people who are connected in some way, get divided. Sally and Jo have a fight. Some people take Jo's side, some people take Sally's side. More often than not, people like to play the Switzerland card. They love both of their friends and they want to stay neutral and safe and decide not to chose sides. Of course that's the route we like to take, it's way easier to say peace out, I don't want to choose a side. No one likes drama that hurts them personally. Not choosing sides has become a little bit of the "honorable and mature" thing to do. And it some ways it is. Not all arguments are easy to figure out, and they're messy. Sometimes, arguments and divides are created over ridiculous things. Here are some examples between some of my friends and myself in high school, that were actual fights we had, that would qualify as absolutely ridiculous things that cause divides:
Yay high school, we all made great decisions and thought we were incredibly mature. But, those crazy and later hilarious arguments definitely take place after high school. They're super ridiculous fights that are a good example of when it's a good time not to get heavily involved, because it would be ridiculous to ruin a friendship or start a war over who was right and who was wrong in the discussion of using too much cheese. There's no need to start a drama committee and choose whose side you'll fight to the death for over any of those things. That would be crazy. In that case, the mature thing to do would be resolve as much of the issue as you can, and then peace out and let everyone calm down about their cheese. But, even in situations like that where the right thing to do is back off and let people work their macaroni problems out themselves, we forget that it's ok to acknowledge the truth. The argument arising around you might be the stupidest thing you've ever heard in your life, but life isn't relative. Biblically, there is always a correct answer. Outside of that, it's just the simple law of noncontradiction; contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time. We forget that even in ridiculous arguments, it's okay to say one person was right and one person was wrong. Usually, when it comes to disagreements about camo shoes and macaroni and cheese, both people are at fault in some way, and there's a lot of miscommunication and over-reaction. But even in a crazy pants discussion like that, it's ok, and it's Biblical, to say this was right and this was wromg. It's important not to be relative and to get comfortable speaking the truth about little ridiculous things, because one day, something big is going to hit you. God is a God of justice, and there is no place for relativism in conflict when you serve a God who created you to fight for what is right. There is always a right answer.
One way that I see this greatly, greatly hurting people today is rape culture. Rape culture is one thing that generally speaking, the secular world handles better than the church. In the church, rape culture thrives.
A girl is sexually abused. She tells someone in the church or her youth group or Christian organization. The leaders don't know what to do, so they sweep it under the rug. They church, in many places, likes to keep a squeaky clean image, so the leaders ask anyone who knows about it to keep completely quiet about it. More often than not, the victim is asked to leave, as so not to stir the pot within the Christian group. Any traces of the abuse are covered up and hidden away, which means the abuser faces little to no consequence. No one decides who's right and who's wrong to avoid any drama. Friends and family who are close to the victim and or perpetrator choose to stay friends with both parties because it's easier, less awkward, and they don't want to "pick sides" because they feel they aren't involved or it isn't their business. That story is my story. That story is the story of thousands of other girls. Unfortunately, that's a toxic, destructive, and extremely un-Biblical way to handle any injustice. After the monsters are put back under the bed and the skeletons are hidden in the closet, this leaves a church that looks clean and clear from the outside, an abuser who is emboldened and chastised, and a victim who is neglected, left more hurt than before, and left to work out a life-time of pain and consequences of someone else's behavior alone.
We serve a God of justice. There is no relativism in justice. Justice says I will stand up for the oppressed because I stand up for the truth. There is no place for neutrality in justice. There is no place for sweeping under the rug. If you want to stand for what God is calling you to stand for, then get your flashlight. Open the closet and bring the skeletons out. Pull the monsters out from under the bed.
In middle school, I heard the bully talk over and over. The teachers would say, "If you see someone being bullied and you don't do anything about it, you're just as much of a bully as the bully themselves". If you watch the oppressed be oppressed and do nothing, you're on the same side as the one oppressing. The difference is, the oppressor is committing a sin of commission. They're sinning through their actions. When you or I watch a victim get trampled by a perpetrator and we do nothing about it, we are committing a sin of omission. We are sinning because of our lack of action.
Am I saying that if someone sins against someone else, you should exile them from the church? No. Am I saying that you should always pick sides and start a war? No. Am I saying that when someone hurts someone else they deserve to be treated badly? No. Am I saying don't forgive them and hold a grudge? Absolutely not. But there's a difference between forgiveness and trust. There's a difference between consequences for your actions and treating someone poorly. There's a difference between choosing sides and speaking the truth about a situation. There's a difference between grace and tolerating destructive and sinful behavior. Justice has no room for relativism.
Proverbs 31:8-9 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
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