“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” – Ephesians 5:11-12
I grew up with a rather unfavorable view of tattletales and snitches. “Keep your mouth shut,” I was told . . . “What goes on this house stays in this house” . . . “There are certain things that are not to be discussed.”
But I’ve come to understand that there is a big difference between confidentiality and cover-up. One protects privacy . . . the other protects vice.
According to philosopher Edmund Burke, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing. Corruption can thrive only in contexts of silent acquiescence.
Secrecy itself is quite seductive to individuals and institutions. Information is power and those who have it and control the access to it are powerful. Evil requires that power be limited to only a select few.
In the 1960’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was constantly accused of inciting violence with his Civil Rights marches. Dr. King responded that his aim was not to incite violence but to expose the violence imposed upon the oppressed daily through the physical repressions of racial segregation. King saw himself not as an inflictor of wounds but as an exposer of wounds that had already been inflicted upon the disenfranchised.
Exposing evil is risky business. But the greater threat is the deadly silence of those who consistently sacrifice moral conscience on the altar of social order.
God . . . there are so many areas where we find delight in the devices of darkness. Give me the courage to turn on the light, even when my eyes have adjusted to the dark.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.