December 4, 2012
Silence in the face of injustice or evil – does it imply consent? We cannot know the heart of another, that is, his intentions, but we can say this about ourselves: if we are silent because we are afraid of retribution, or if we hide behind the Nazi claim “I was just following orders,” or if we stand in support of evildoers even if we say nothing or do nothing, we are sinning by silence.
In Numbers 16-17 we learn of the rebellion against Moses and Aaron by Core and his adherents. Two-hundred-fifty men, community leaders, council members, and men of note followed Core, Dathan, and Abiram in a confrontation with Moses and Aaron over their right to leadership. Core’s chief claim (an excuse, really) was that everyone in the community was holy and the Lord was with them all. How dare Moses and Aaron set themselves above the Lord’s congregation?
The followers of the three let their leaders do the talking and stood by while they committed the first act of schism and heresy in a divinely instituted religion. It was schism to rebel against the lawful authority of Moses and Aaron; and it was heresy to deny that God had given jurisdiction and the priesthood to Moses and Aaron.
In the end, God punished the leaders along with most of their families (except the sons of Core) with a frightful death – being swallowed up by an earthquake. The 250 followers were burned alive by fire from the pillar of cloud. God showed many things by this, among them that silence doesn’t exonerate a person from serious sin.
Some ways of sinning by silence today
- Doing nothing, not even praying, to stop abortion.
- Following sinful orders from a superior without protest or refusal.
- Remaining silent when knowing somebody in our family, church, school, or workplace is falsely accused.
- Shunning arguments and controversy when speaking the truth would save someone from continuing in sin.
- “It’s not my problem,” the attitude of those who silently watch while another is abused.
We can’t go around minding other people’s business nor does God want that from us. But He does allow us to recognize sin and at times gives us what we need to take action – authority, know-how, law, etc. If we don’t make use of the virtue of fortitude in these moments and instead look the other way, we are guilty. We must also be very careful who we choose to lead us and who we support lest we end up behind leaders whose agendas are sinful and we, by our silence in the face of their perfidy, find ourselves on the wide road to hell.
Want to subscribe to posts by email? Visit the third box in the sidebar.
R. Now and forever!
(Click on the link above to read why I end my posts this way.)
6 Comments to Sharing in the Sins of Others: By Silence
Email notification of posts
I am grateful for even small donations to help keep this site going. All donors will be kept in my prayers.