Resolve, Ready, Resist: Three Steps To Taking A Stand

Published on June 22, 2013

mlkIn his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King expressed the importance of making ourselves ready: “We were not unmindful of the difficulties involved. So we decided to go through a process of self-purification. We started having workshops on nonviolence and repeatedly asked ourselves the questions, ‘Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?’ and ‘Are you able to endure the ordeals of jail?'” Make yourself ready to stand.

Resist. Resolve to stand, make yourself ready to stand, then stand. The Apostle Paul turns to a warfare motif once again in 2 Corinthians 10: “3For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

Strongholds are great ideological fortresses. There’s only one way to destroy error and that is with truth. When we find people and even governments entrenched in these ideological fortresses, we assault the fortress with the truth. Our ideas take on flesh and blood as we take our stand. We resist.

God calls us to be faithful. We may not be “successful” as the world considers success but a Christian’s success lies in obedience and faithfulness. William Wilberforce continually introduced anti-slavery measures in the English parliament for 18 years before the slave trade was finally abolished in 1807. He then had to wait until 1833, shortly before his death, to see the existing slaves freed.

Likewise, we must be prepared to “run the race with endurance,” as the apostle Paul put it, knowing that things may get much worse before they get better. The outcomes we hope for may never come in our lifetimes but we can establish and maintain a faithful witness nonetheless. No effort is wasted. Only eternity will reveal the full impact of our words and deeds.

Within the United States Holocaust Museum there is an infamous mountain of shoes of the prisoners killed in the concentration camps. Commenting on the shoes, Moishe Shulstein wrote the poem, I Saw a Mountain.

We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses.
We are shoes from grandchildren and grandfathers,
From Prague, Paris and Amsterdam,
And because we are only made of fabric and leather
And not of blood and flesh, each one of us avoided the hellfire.

Mr. Shulstein, in a poetic manner, was testifying about the Jews who did not avoid the fires. The shoes they removed from their feet were the last witnesses who saw the fate of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis.

Shoes will not be the witnesses of our day. Let us not allow our children and grandchildren to say, “How could this happen? How did the American people allow this to happen?”

Resolve to stand, make ready to stand, then stand.

Upper Image: Confessing Church founders release Barmen Declaration

Lower Image: Barmen Declaration author Karl Barth and MLK Jr., Princeton 1962.

J WrightJeff Wright, Jr. is a grateful husband, blessed daddy, and long-suffering Redskins fan. He is a Prison Chaplain in the “city of lost souls,” holds a ThM from Dallas Seminary, and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society. Jeff is a civil liberties activist on behalf of the “sacred order of freemen” and minister of the “fellowship of twice-born sinners. Twitter account: @jeffwrightjr. “

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident.