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Speaking out for truth and justice – a Christian responsibility

Dr Peter Saundersby Peter Saunders, CMF

Speaking out for truth and justice is just one of many responsibilities we have as Christians. But I suspect it is the one that we most willingly shirk, simply because it can be so costly.

Being a Christian is costly in many ways. It is costly to live a life of obedience and service, costly to go on loving against the odds, costly to persevere when we are tempted to give up and costly to give generously of our energy, time and money. But when we speak out we pay a cost of a different kind, because speaking out makes us a target for attack.

John the Baptist lost his head for speaking out about vice and corruption – but he did not shrink from confronting individuals in power when it was appropriate to do so. The prophets and apostles were persecuted for what they said, rather than what they did. Jesus himself was crucified for his words, rather than his healing or his miracles.

And yet Christians are often reluctant to risk ridicule, attack or ‘loss of influence’ by putting their heads above the parapet. Karl Marx was particularly disdainful of Christian priorities, ‘You Christians have a vested interest in unjust structures which produce victims to whom then you can pour out your hearts in charity.’ And whilst we would not embrace his communist philosophy or solutions he did have a point. Real concern for the marginalised is evidenced both by charity and by speaking out.

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