Remaining Silent Is Not an Option
The book of Leviticus in the Bible gives us a lot of instructions about things to do and to not do. It’s a challenging read and many readers skip it. Yet there are bits of truth scattered throughout it that are relevant in our world today. Here’s one example.
If someone is accused, we have an obligation to speak up for them. To not do so is a sin. If we remain quiet God will hold us responsible for our silence.
Defend the Accused
The most obvious application of this verse is the direct one. If there’s a public charge against someone and we have knowledge that will clear them, we must speak up. We must come to their defense. To remain quiet when we can help clear them is morally wrong and a sin.
Regardless of the circumstances and the situation that testifying may put us in, we must be courageous and share what we know.
Aid the Prosecution
What about the opposite situation, when someone is accused of wrongdoing and we have information that will help convict them? Does this verse apply to us in those situations? Though not clear, I suspect it does.
In this case, to remain quiet may allow the guilty to go free. This wouldn’t be right. Again, we must speak up regardless of the circumstances and the ramifications of testifying.
These are two aspects of justice. Is a wider application of this verse that we are to pursue justice? It could be. Certainly, the oppressed and disadvantaged need advocates to help them receive justice.
By extension, this verse may be telling us that if we have the means to help someone receive just treatment and we remain quiet, that we have sinned and will be held responsible.
Exactly how we understand and apply this verse is up for us to determine, but a good principle to follow is that we must speak up for what is right.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.