Sometimes as Christians, we choose to overlook “small” ethical infringements because, we tell ourselves that we’ll be sure to speak out when there’s truly something horrific and evil. We think this is a “strategic” decision to use our influence when it really matters — saving our chips to cash in at the right time, so to speak. And often to increase our power and influence, we tell ourselves that we need to overlook these infringements, so that when the time is right, we can then exert our influence to right what is wrong.

But I don’t know if this is what God calls us to. What stories or teachings in the Bible support keeping silent until the right time to speak out against evil? I don’t recall anything that says, “Wait till the time is ripe to say something, but until then, turn a blind eye to evil.” If anything, I feel there is more of a push to act now. Today. We don’t even know if we’ll be alive tomorrow — “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” — James 4:14

Yes, there is wisdom sometimes in either not speaking out or holding back until a more opportune time. However, I wonder if we use this “strategic” way of handling things as an excuse to be silent and therefore complicit. Sometimes if we wait too long, things may reach such a point of abject evil that it is not even possible to speak or act out against it. Our influence may mean nothing and be rendered void. Also, how do we know when evil has crossed a certain “threshold” that would determine that we should speak? How do we even define what that threshold is?

It seems to me that the only Person for whom the ends justifies the means is God. We mere mortals are rarely supposed to make decisions using that framework. We should grapple with our consciences over such decisions.

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