I am currently reading 7 Men & The Secret Of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas. It picks 7 men from history and speaks of the impact they had during the time in which they lived.
In the chapter on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, there is a quote by his friend Martin Niemoller.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.
This was during the time of Hitler in Germany. Reading this struck me hard. It says so much of how we cannot stand on the sidelines just because something that seems wrong does not affect us directly.
Niemoeller realized this, but when he did it was too late. How often do we not speak or have a voice when those around us are oppressed or treated unfairly? I know that I have stood by many times in my life.
Perhaps our voice speaks loudly by our own inaction. There are times when we do engage, but far too often we don’t for the sake of safety, pride, fear.
May we speak with action and not silence before they come for us and it’s too late.