This was to be a post for the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up, in response to the prompt, “Silence.” I began the post, intending to reflect on these words by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
My search for the quote brought me to this article, “Martin Luther King, Jr. and Silence” by Marybeth Gasman, in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her article, in turn, led me to this excerpt from a sermon Dr. King give after Bloody Sunday, in Selma, AL, on March 8, 1965:
Deep down in our non-violent creed is the conviction there are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they’re worth dying for. And if a man happens to be 36 years old, as I happen to be, some great truth stands before the door of his life — some great opportunity to stand up for that which is right. A man might be afraid his home will get bombed, or he’s afraid that he will lose his job, or he’s afraid that he will get shot, or beat down by state troopers, and he may go on and live until he’s 80. He’s just as dead at 36 as he would be at 80. The cessation of breathing in his life is merely the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. He died…
A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand up for that which is true.
So we’re going to stand up amid horses. We’re going to stand up right here in Alabama, amid the billy-clubs. We’re going to stand up right here in Alabama amid police dogs, if they have them. We’re going to stand up amid tear gas! We’re going to stand up amid anything they can muster up, letting the world know that we are determined to be free!
And then with five minutes long gone, I faced these words by king Solomon, whose life to me is the cautionary tale,
1To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
7 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 NKJV, emphasis added).
And these words spoken by Mordecai to Queen Esther,
“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, NKJV)
And I give up any thought of adding the post to the Five Minute Friday link-up but share the words here. There is no wrapping this post up neatly. The divinely inspired words quoted above demand more than platitudes from me. It requires repentance. It exposes the need for discernment. And courage. And action.