When Silence Becomes Sin

My sophomore year of college I studied abroad in Guatemala. I spent most of my time working as an intern in a home for severely abused and neglected girls. Over those few months I witnessed, first hand, what evil can do to an innocent child. I learned that the enemy doesn’t play fair or “take it easy” on someone because they are only five-years-old or have already been victimized. I watched demonic forces try to kill children.

When my semester abroad was over, the plan was for me to return to college in San Diego where I would spend my weeks in classrooms with ocean views and my weekends taking students out on snorkeling trips and mud caving adventures.

I remember sitting on the edge of my bunk bed at the girls home and thinking about the “what next” question. I knew I had seen too much to ever attempt to go back to my old routine. I was jaded, I was angry, I had lost much of my white, middle class, Southern Baptist innocence and I felt scared.

I remember crying out to God and asking Him what it was that I should do next. Do I go back to my posh and comfortable and beautiful school in San Diego? Do I stay in Guatemala? Where do I belong? What do I do with what I’ve seen and heard and held in my hands?

In His faithfulness, the Lord told me two things: 1. “You will never again feel comfortable anywhere on earth. Your home is in heaven. It is ok to feel “unsettled” as it will be a constant reminder that your earthly city is a temporary dwelling place while you are on-mission with me.” 2. “Be like the ‘shouting voice’ in Isaiah 58. Do not be silent about what you have seen and heard and held in your hands.”

I began to read and pour over the Isaiah passage. It became a reference point for me in the years to follow. When I would question my motives or my decisions, I would use Isaiah 58 as a compass.

After reading more of the details on Terence Crutcher’s death,  I find myself deep in the words of the ancient prophet once again.

Every time I hear of another unarmed black man being shot and killed, I go back to those gut feelings I had while sitting on my bunk bed at the girls home and I ask the same question: What do I do with what I have seen and heard and held in my hands?

The answers are still the same as they were twelve years ago.

This world is not my home. I am here temporarily, while on mission for the Kingdom of God. My mission is to serve Him and share Him with as many people as possible. I will use whatever platform and position He sees fit to give me to do so. Some days that platform will look like my kitchen table as I help my oldest son with his homework. Some days that platform will look like my van as I drive my anxious toddler, late at night, to help him calm down enough to fall asleep. Some days that platform will look like a blog post or an Instagram meme. One day that platform may be bigger or louder. Maybe not. But I will use whatever platform I have to speak truth, in love, for the advancement of the Kingdom. For me, to be silent would be sin.

So, this morning, on this blog platform, I will shout the words of Isaiah 58. I will give the call to repent, the call for eyes to be opened and ears to listen, the call for the people of God to rise up and pay attention. I will use my mouth to charge my brothers and sisters to use the things they have been given, be it money or time or white privilege or education or social media followers or spiritual giftings, to serve the broken. To squash the enemy and his schemes. To “quit blaming victims and gossiping about other people’s sins.” To build the walls — and not the ones that keep people out — and make the cities beautiful again.

This is a call to pray and fast and speak up and repent and take back what the enemy has stolen. This is a call for the people of God to declare truth over the places where lies have crept in because we have stayed silent and, in doing so, have sinned. 

Will you join me?

 Isaiah 58: 1-12

1-3 “Shout! A full-throated shout!
Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what’s wrong with their lives,
face my family Jacob with their sins!
They’re busy, busy, busy at worship,
and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people—
law-abiding, God-honoring.
They ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’
and love having me on their side.
But they also complain,
‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way?
Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’

3-5 “Well, here’s why:
“The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit.
You drive your employees much too hard.
You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight.
You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do
won’t get your prayers off the ground.
Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after:
a day to show off humility?
To put on a pious long face
and parade around solemnly in black?
Do you call that fasting,
a fast day that I, God, would like?

6-9 “This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’
A Full Life in the Emptiest of Places

9-12 “If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.

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2 thoughts on “When Silence Becomes Sin

  1. Thank you for this Amber and for being willing to being God’s voice. It’s not a job for the faint of heart but this world needs you to speak God’s truth and love. I’m a Brit in Charlotte, NC and my heart breaks for my adopted home and for this country.
    Keep Shouting girlfriend.

    PS I’m visiting from HopeWriters.xx

    Like

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