Proverbs 31:8-9 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
A few days ago, I commented to Dave, “No one seems to be talking about the fact that this month, on the 18th, we celebrate 100 years since the passage of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. With all the concern about voting, why isn’t anyone referencing that?” Since then, I’ve been glad to see and hear some media focus on that historic accomplishment.
Think about it, though: Only one hundred years since women were granted the vote! I find that hard to believe. Since I have always had that right, I take it for granted. My grandmother was 19 in 1920. I wish I had known enough to ask her what the passage of the 19th amendment meant to her.
But even more unbelievable for me, since I didn’t grow up in the U.S. and learned a truncated version of American history, has been finding out that the great majority of Black Americans, including, of course, Black women, have only been able to vote since President Lyndon Johnson passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
1965! Within my lifetime, in this “land of the free,” citizens were not permitted to vote! I have been on a steep learning curve about this and so much else I didn’t know or didn’t understand about the story of this country.
I have heard these proverbs about speaking up applied to unborn babies, and surely that is legitimate. But I don’t remember hearing them applied to people of color. Tragically, unconscionably, it has often been people who claim the name of Christ who, rather than ensuring justice, have been the ones doing the crushing—in direct opposition to Jesus, who “will not crush the weakest reed” (see post on Aug. 8). Read Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise, for a start.
Women and men, each of us who has a voice: Let’s use the power of our voices not just at the polls, critically important as that is, but in our homes, our communities, our churches, to speak up when we see injustice. Our voices don’t have to be loud or raucous to make a difference, especially if what we say is matched by what we do. God loves gentleness and kindness—that’s what I find so appealing about John Woolman’s way of protesting. But our voices joined together in persistent, confident love can bring change that will gladden God’s heart.
This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things.”
I, the Lord, have spoken! (Jeremiah 9:23-24)