In Malaysia today, Christians — like other Malaysians — can no longer remain silent. Silence means tacit approval of the wrongs happening around us. We have to have the faith to stand up against wrong.
When Peter and John were summoned before the Sanhedrin (supreme Jewish council), they were commanded not to speak and teach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4). But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4: 19,20)
Who are we listening to? Men or Jesus Christ who we follow? Are we like Peter and John, “cannot help” but speak about what we “have seen and heard” about Jesus? Peter and John had earlier healed a lame man in Jesus’ Name. They had a close and energising relationship with Jesus; they knew Him, knew what He said and what He wanted. Following Him, they, by faith in Him, performed miracles and gave powerful teachings that changed lives, and by extension, the societies they lived in.
What they said before the Sanhedrin, before their very own religious teachers, who were also doing their duties in the Name of God, went against their leaders. But, they couldn’t help but speak because they had experienced a new reality in Christ. We, too, will speak and act if we are experiencing this reality in Christ.
If we are enjoying a close and growing relationship with Jesus, Christians will be motivated to speak up for what we know is good and right. In that close relationship with Him, we will hear what He is saying. We need to listen to Him and act and speak up, and not listen to men and be silent.
If we can’t make that distinction between what He is saying and what men are saying, our faith is compromised. We won’t be able to hear what he is saying or meaning. But, when our allegiance is to Him, and we are prepared to stand up for truth, He will speak clearly. And, we must do and speak accordingly.
That is what I feel our Lord wants me to share with fellow Christians in Malaysia. He is going to speak to mature Christians, where ever we are, including those in positions of influence. When we are walking right with Him, He speaks and we will hear him. When we speak and act in obedience, the consequences will have a direct impact on transforming our lives and the society we live in.