Unless you live in a media-free bubble, which I’m sure isn’t the case if you’re reading this blog, you’ve heard the news coming out of Penn State this week. (If you haven’t heard, here’s the story on cnn.com)
I think public reaction to the story has been fair, for the most part. People are outraged- first, that a man would abuse and take advantage of children in such a deplorable way, and second, that people with information about the crimes didn’t speak up more. The people who knew about it mentioned it to their supervisors, who mentioned it to their supervisors, and ultimately the whole thing kinda got glossed over for years.
Those who had the information should have spoken up because for years, children were being abused. Those who knew about it and kept silent are guilty, too. Maybe not of the same crimes, but they are responsible to a degree for what took place.
In the first chapter of Isaiah, God is angry with Israel for this very thing. He says that Jerusalem, the faithful city, has become a harlot because the people there refuse to speak up for orphans and widows- the victims of oppression and extortion.
In Matthew 25, when Jesus tells the parable of the sheep and goats being separated, he says that the “goats” get cast out of God’s presence for their lack of action. “I was hungry, and you did nothing. I was thirsty, and you did nothing. I was sick, in jail, alone, in need- and you did nothing.”
You did nothing.
You took no action.
You were silent.
Today, in your corner of the world, there is action that needs to take place. There is someone lonely who needs a friend. There is someone helpless who needs an advocate. There is someone hungry who needs a meal.
Speak up for those who have no voice. Reach out to those who have no help. Comfort those who have no hope.
Do not remain silent.