Speak out for the one who cannot speak,
for the rights of those who are doomed.
Speak out, judge fairly,
and defend the rights of oppressed and needy people.” (Proverbs 31:8-9 GW)
(Context—Proverbs 31:1-9 GW)
It’s easy to demand fairness and tolerance coming from an ideological stance, a personal view, or even a philosophic approach. But real life isn’t ideal. Ideology and philosophy don’t fit within the harsh lines of reality.
Reality and objective truth will never conform to anyone’s ideological, philosophical, or religious viewpoint. And yes, absolute and objective truth exists no matter how relativistic culture and morality become and the personal challenges of others to the truth.
Relativism meets reality
Personal opinions are just that—personal. They aren’t objective but subjective. They’re captive to emotions and the influence of others. And personal opinions are fickle.
Culture changes. It’s not objective nor absolute. A simple review of modern history reveals how culture doesn’t just waver—it swings from one extreme to another.
Personal opinions, politics, and philosophy—including ideologies and religious views—drive the currents of culture change. This should be self-evident but I realize our present culture is characterized and driven by relativism.
And it isn’t just moral relativism, it seems as if everything can be questioned as to its veracity—even physical and scientific realities. Just because you can think or imagine it doesn’t make it a reality.
Speaking out or speaking for?
As I read and think on what is expressed in these two verses in Proverbs 31 (above), I hear the polarized arguments and opinions of our present American culture in the background.
People are speaking out for those who seem to have no voice and appear defenseless. I’m thinking of those concerned with refugees and illegal immigrants. But is anyone really listening to them? Are these voices speaking on behalf of those they’re concerned about or for them?
There is a difference. We can speak for someone yet not express what they think and feel. I’ve seen this when one spouse answers a question for another in their presence. When we speak on behalf of another, we should speak what’s in their heart and mind not ours.
One segment of our population—worldwide—who are doomed and defenseless and have no voice of their own are pushed aside and ignored for the sake of another large segment of the population. I’m referring to the unborn whose life is cutoff before it begins outside the womb.
America’s Declaration of Independence and the 14th Amendment to the constitution speak of equal rights. The 14th Amendment is the basis of civil rights for all humanity and recognized former slaves as humans with equal rights.
Before this, slaves—any gender or age—were considered chattel—they were mere possessions of their “masters.” The Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision (1973) did the opposite for the unborn and some states have already extended this beyond actual birth.
The rights of the unborn are denied by a legal interpretation based on opinion not scientific fact. This was and is a slippery slope as prophetically expressed in the book, Whatever Happened to the Human Race.
Concern or cause?
Causes, whether secular or religious, usually begin with a concern but at some point develop a life of their own. How does this happen? Emotions, opinions, and personal views take over.
My wife and I worked with abandoned and abused children and young women for many years. Prior to developing our ministry in the Philippines for the abandoned and abused, we were foster parents for several years in the US.
We have real-life, firsthand experience as advocates of those in dire need and who need protection and restoration. But we were never protesters. We still aren’t. We’re doers along with thousands of others engaged in similar work throughout the world.
We’ve heard and seen many people show concern, even speak out on behalf of those who are oppressed and at risk. But talk is cheap. Causes and opinions come and go. Real advocacy has no agenda but to do what is needed to help those in need.
If you have a genuine concern for the defenseless, needy, and oppressed, then consider these three specific admonitions—
Speak out, judge fairly, and defend the rights of oppressed and needy people.
Speak out— It’s good to speak out for those who have no voice but be sure you do so for their benefit not just your view of them and their situation.
Judge fairly— Be objective not subjective. Don’t be driven by emotions and opinions. Ask genuine questions and listen to those you want to defend. Put yourself in their place and see things from their point of view.
Defend the rights…— Throughout history and in every nation, there are those who are guilty but get set free and those who are innocent yet are condemned. The Lord knows about this firsthand—He was betrayed and put to death as the only truly innocent Man (Matt 27:19-26).
Ultimately, we will all come before the only One who is able to judge justly—God. Here are some final thoughts from the Scriptures—
But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. (Psalms 10:14 NIV)
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. (Psalms 68:5 NIV)
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you—But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NKJV)
If you have a genuine concern for the defenseless, needy, and oppressed, then consider these three specific admonitions—Speak out, judge fairly, and defend their rights as their advocates, not for your own cause.
If any of what’s written above challenges your own convictions or points of view—be willing to set those aside. Ask the Lord to help you see them first from His point of view.
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