Sometimes we must interfere

Buchenwald_Slave_Laborers_Liberation

And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings  endure suffering and humiliation. 

We must take sides. 

Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

Sometimes we must interfere.
     ~ ELIE WIESEL, Night

Sometimes it’s hard to know.
Speak up or be silent?

I’ve sometimes spoken up when I should have kept silent.
And sometimes kept silent when I should have spoken up.

Elie Eisel, now aged 82, was a slave laborer in Auschwitz, Buna, and the Buchenwald concentration camps in World War II. If you have yet to read his book Night about his Holocaust experiences, it’s probably time.

Because we need to get this better.
This knowing when to take sides.
This knowing when to interfere.

May the Lord grant us wisdom to know.
And courage to do it.

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven.
     Ecclesiastes 3:1

* * *

Is there something you need to speak out about?

How do you decide when to speak up and when to be silent? 

14 comments:

Kimberly said...

Your post makes me think of the word "conviction" - something we could use more of, I think. In a society that teaches tolerance and acceptance, I think people are forgetting how to stand up for what's right.

Lisa notes... said...

So I see a connection between my post on speaking up and yours on smudge sticks. Sometimes we start rationalizing things a little too much that we lose our sense of conviction of right and wrong. Definitely need to have solid thoughts on the Word so we’ll know the difference.

sarah said...

I feel this Lisa...I've felt it for a long time and I've read Night. It's power held me even though it was so hard to read. And having lived through what I did and surviving it...I want to make a difference....and to never be silent when someone's hurting. I want to stand up....have my voice and live with purpose. Great post. Those quotes are some of my favorites. ☺

Lisa notes... said...

Sarah,
“Night” was hard for me to read too. I read it a few years back, but it has stuck with me. You come from such a unique perspective; it makes your voice even more powerful when you speak up, and helps others of us know we should do the same. I admire you for all that you do.

Saleslady371 said...

Excellent message here, Lisa. We forget. After my visit to Yad Vashem when I was in Israel a few years ago, I went back to my hotel room and wept like a baby. I couldn't talk the rest of the day and that's the way it should be when we witness such human suffering.

Rachel said...

Wow...I bet that was a hard book to read. I'm not sure if I could do it - but I know the lessons in it would be unbelievably valuable. Thanks for the challenge!

Lisa notes... said...

I’ve heard that Yad Vashem is one of the top three sites visited in Israel. I can only imagine how touching it would be to visit the museum there full of Holocaust things.

I remember visiting the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, a few years back, and seeing the “Daniel’s Story” exhibit. It does really leave you speechless and humbled.

I pray it also leaves us emboldened to not let such horrors happen again, although when I hear of events in Sudan and other places even now, I question how much we have learned from history… Lord, help us.

Joan said...

Hi Lisa:

I've not read this book. I have a friends whose grandparents were in a concentration camp in Germany.

You are right there is a time to speak and a time for silence and like you, I've done the wrong thing too many times. I think they key here is praying for wisdom and discernment.

Blessings,
Joan

Pamela said...

Sounds like a book I need to read. It's not always pleasant to read of such horrors but we do need to know and appreciate those who have been so hurt. May I always know when to speak up and when to keep my mouth quiet.

Pamela

Virginia said...

Proverbs 31: 8-9
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.

Respecting each other ,seeing other human as self and self as others
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We have been programmed to look the other way for to long. I wouldn't recommend sticking our noses where it doesn't belong but there are many ways one person can make a big difference. Your posts always makes me look inside my heart, Thank you…

Cathy said...

Thanks for sharing that, Dear. Lord, help us to stand up for what is right. Blessings ~

Lisa notes... said...

Virginia,
I’m glad you included the Proverbs scriptures in your comment. We often don’t think of that section when we hear Proverbs 31 because we’re all caught up in our confusion and guilt of how we’re not the virtuous woman. Ha.

But speaking up for the weak is another role that virtuous women (and men) must take up. It comes naturally when it’s our own children but as believers we have the Spirit in us to teach us to look beyond our own and protect others as well. And I need his equipping of courage along with vision; I often lack in both.

The Martin Luther quote is also very applicable here. “Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. They're good encouragement for me.

Davene Grace said...

I lived in Israel for several years; and like a previous commenter, I was utterly appalled during my visit to Yad Vashem. The Holocaust Museum in D.C. is also very well done. Sometimes when I see such suffering, I think, "Lord, how can You allow this? If You reached your saturation point in the days of Noah, haven't we certainly reached it again now? Why don't You return and judge the earth?"

Truly, His long-suffering mercy is marvelous.

Charlotte said...

I agree. This is so important. I've wondered through the years why people didn't speak up about the things that were going on in Nazi Germany. I'm afraid it's the idea that if I'm not directly involved, I don't want to get involved. That is sad and sick.
Blessings,
Charlotte

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