Stand By Or Stand Up?
Many have heard the saying, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” which is often misattributed to an Irish statesman and philosopher. While we may not know the origin of the quote, the idea is quite correct. If you don’t stand up and say something about injustice, who will? In fact, does your silence not make you complicit in the wickedness?
In Obadiah’s prophecy, God condemns Edom for standing by and doing nothing to help Jacob when trouble came. “For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. In the day that you stood on the other side—in the day that strangers carried captive his forces, when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem—even you were as one of them” (Obadiah 10-11).
Refusing to act on the behalf of those in need is the same as actively oppressing them. If you have the means and opportunity, you should do what you can to assist a person in need. The apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
Not only did Edom stand by and watch, but they were also happy at what they witnessed. “But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother in the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress” (Obadiah 12).
Why would someone find joy in another person’s suffering? Think about the bullies in school. Why were they bullies? Most of the time, they were trying to feel better about themselves, and they thought the only way to do that was to tear someone else down. God shows us the real way to happiness: through helping others. Again it is the apostle Paul, who applied a principle taught by the Lord to the action of helping the less fortunate. “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is ore blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).
Don’t stand by while others are oppressed. Stand up and help.