I was moved by the following true story about what happened to a 16 to 17 year-old girl during the ‘70s in Asia —
“The Communist soldiers had discovered their illegal Bible study.
“As the pastor was reading from the Bible , men with guns suddenly broke into the home, terrorizing the believers who had gathered there to worship. The Communists shouted insults and threatened to kill the Christians. The leading officer pointed his gun at the pastor’s head. ‘Hand me your Bible,’ he demanded.
“Reluctantly the pastor handed over his Bible, his prized possession. With a sneer on his face, the guard threw the Word of God on the floor at his feet.
“He glared at the small congregation. ‘We will let you go,’ he growled, ‘but first, you must spit on this book of lies. Anyone who refuses will be shot.’ The believers had no choice but to obey the officer’s order.
“A soldier pointed his gun at one of the men. ‘You first.’
“The man slowly got up and knelt down by the Bible. Reluctantly, he spit on it, praying, ‘Father, please forgive me.’ He stood up and walked to the door. The soldiers stood back and allowed him to leave.
“‘Okay, you!’ the soldier said, nudging a woman forward. In tears, she could barely do what the soldier demanded. She spit only a little, but it is enough. She too was allowed to leave.
“Quietly, a young girl came forward. Overcome with love for her Lord, she knelt down and picked up the Bible. She wiped off the spit with her dress. ‘What have they done to your word? Please forgive them,’ she prayed.
“The Communist soldier put his pistol to her head. Then he pulled the trigger.”
We have many opportunities to do the “right thing” every day. We can step in when someone is being physically or verbally bullied by someone else. Bullying is not just a a childhood or adolescent experience that happens at school or over the internet. It can happen in adult social and business circles as well.
It can happen between an adult and an adolescent or child in public or in private, but in our presence. We have many opportunities to step up and do the right thing.
We can refuse to pass on second-hand bad news (gossip) about someone else. We can interrupt the person trying to “use us” as the next person in the chain of informants, and tell them we do not want to hear it.
It might put us at risk to physically step in and protect or defend someone who is being viciously shredded by someone’s words or actions. But, the alternative of passively watching as it occurs shreds our own soul as well as the soul of the helpless victim in front of us.
Have you seen the commercial about the people who watch someone else demonstrate an act of kindness to a stranger? They then find themselves continuing the chain of kindness that is then seen by someone else, and so on…
Living a life of deliberate and active courage in noticing and helping those in need will not likely require our sacrificial death—but it might.