Passivity Or Action?
|American Christianity seems to have become so passive, it might
be classified as a form of sleeping sickness. Countless people in the pews
seem to believe they are saved by right thinking about creeds on Sundays
rather than doing anything for God as seen in their fellow creatures on
Christianity lived is Christianity applied. But the idea of doing this
seems to scare people silly. Many people seem to think it is better to do
nothing at all than to risk doing something that may turn out to be wrong.
This is a total reversal of the true rule of Christianity which is the opposite:
It is better to venture out doing something that may turn out wrong than to
do nothing at all and passively accept a wrong status quo.
If we pass by a bad situation, we are essentially doing the same
thing the do nothing people did in the parable of The Good Samaritan. They
saw the wounded man and promptly crossed to the other side of the street.
They passed the situation by. But the true Christian spirit, The Good
Samaritan, had to do something. He could not just pass on by. He applied
his religion to the situation as best he could.
If Brother Martin had not posted his 95 Theses on the door of the
Castle church at Wittenberg, but had been willing to pass by the situation,
how much less diverse, free, morally commanding and rich in spiritual
insights would the world of religion have been. Of all the traditions of faith,
the Protestant must insist that something be done when anyone is
confronted by a terrible situation.
Of course the problem of what is to be done (when you want to do
something) is not always as clear in our muddled contemporary times as
formerly. Now practically all motives on examination seem mixed and most
choices involve an obvious mixture of good and evil. Everything appears
Many people seemingly can’t decide at all, if the choices before them
them are not very clear, honest and pure. But our present society is so
corrupt,selfish and decadent that it offers very few choices that are totally
honest,clear,pure or even decent. Tune in to television if you don’t believe
me. The television offers a choice of most channels spewing secularism,
filth, obscenity,conflict, violence and every now and then sadly saccharine
twenty four hours a day. To climb this ladder of hell, turn on the television
channels your children’s minds are constantly soaked and corroded in the
Or if you maintain the oversimplification you can end the influence
of television by turning it off, which you can’t, you cannot turn off voting.
Observe the grand mess the governments have created and the calibre and
records of those candidates you are given a choice of supporting. Do you
wish to vote for candidate Frick or candidate Frack or so it appears to me?
I had rather not vote for either but I feel voting is important to do.
When I am called upon to make decisions in this society, I attempt to
pick the better of the mixed motives presented me as well as the purer of
the impure alternatives of choice offered me. To these factors must be
added the variables of original sin and the unknown sin of an unknown
future. if things turn out wrong, no one is surprised. But having made a
choice, I then try to leave the rest to God as He may rearrange things later.
But I had to do something. I could not just look at the political nasty now
and cross over to the other side as the Levite did. Nor can you.
Martin Luther said, “Sin boldly.” I say he meant to dare to do
something different for the right reason even though it might conceivably
turn out wrong or sour later. On the other hand it might work. To try is
much better than doing nothing. At least you stir the burning pot or try to
get if off the immediate fire. So when you try to decide what you should
do, since you have to do something, be innovative, be daring, be different.
The last place to take the conventional view is in a cesspool such as this
nation’s society has turned out to be. Why repeat what stinks?
The choice before you today is to become bewildered, passive and
do nothing or try to do something hope giving that you may not be quite
sure about. Buck up your confidence in Christ. To turn into a lump of
confused apathy as Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt is not the
answer to anything, The future rests with the tides of God. Your duty in
confronting a bad situation is to do something even though you may not
be sure what the outcome of your efforts may be. Nobody can ever be
sure. There is no way you can be sure. First organize to do something. Get
involved. Then pray and keep the ideas flowing.
Be brave. Choose the active path instead of an inert surrender to
the status quo. Your responsibility is to do something when you confront a
bad situation. Faith will sustain you. After all that is what faith is for: To
sustain the insecure, to assure the confused, to inspire the weak, and to
encourage you to do your duty bravely even though you may be nearly
scared to death and feel terribly outclassed by your problems.
hat is What is your duty? Life will reveal it to you as it did to the Good
Samaritan. He too was ignorant when he began his journey. Your task as
was his is foreordained by God for your spiritual growth and His glory. If
you do not know what is yet, it is out there somewhere not far in time. It is
waiting for you to turn a corner and discover it. Though others may pass it
by, It will be a situation you cannot pass by because God will be in your
heart and in your understanding.
God bless you in it. God bless you for doing something about it at a
time when the callous motto of the age is a slang “forget it” and “look out
for number one" or “don’t get involved" or, "what the hell is that to you?"
Remember you are a Christian. You beat is sounded by a different
drummer. You have a different vision. You have a calling not known by the
materialist, not heard by the literal, not acknowledged by the pseudo-scientific. You have a call from God for your spiritual growth and His
glory awaiting you. You will know it when the time arrives and the
It may be an intensely personal call to you. Or it may be a call to public
service like Florence Nightingale. Or it may be a call to change to God’s
work as Luther discovered when prostrated by lightning in a thunderstorm.
Whatever, it is out there awaiting its hour to arrive. As the Quakers quietly
say,” Thee will know it when the time does come.”
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation. For comments or corrections
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