Pilate answered them, saying 'Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?' For he was aware that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask him to release Barabbas for them instead. (Mark 15:9-11 NASB, emphasis mine)
I wondered to myself, as I read this passage of Scripture a few mornings ago, "What were these people thinking?" "How could they let themselves be so easily manipulated into such incredible injustice?" I wonder even now how the voices in this crowd felt as they laid down that evening and the reality that he/she championed the release of a murderer over the release of a man who had healed their neighbors. Of course, then I turn on the tv or glance into the media and realize very little has changed. Human beings have a God-given desire for justice. We were made in God's image and He is a just God so certainly we long for a world where all people are valued and treated with the dignity that comes with being divinely created. We long for a world where faithfulness and respect are the norm. We long for a world where the right to speak our mind is no excuse from the consequences of lies, ignorance, and hate. We long for a world without sin.
Because we intrinsically recognize the basic principles of right and wrong we are easily motivated to passionately involve ourselves in the battle for "the oppressed," "the forgotten," and "the abused." But what happens when the noise settles, the drama subsides, the headlines move on to something else and we realize we got played. The cause in fact was a ruse and the the pot stirrers are the only ones who walk away having benefited. We certainly are not true followers of Christ if we turn a blind eye to the social injustices that are flaunted before us. After all, that is where the gospel sings. However, we need to be propelled from our knees and not from our high horse to move forward with His name.
Living an un-offended life is neither a constitutional right nor is it a God-given one. Let us not waste our voice on causes whipped and fluffed by those who seek only to draw attention to that which has no lasting impact and instead to focus on the Truth that brings freedom and peace and justice from the One who created and named them in the eternity of His being.
Before you post your fourth opinion on Facebook, before you sign the petition, before you buy your t-shirt, hammer your yard sign, or debate in the grocery store with the poor guy who dared ask you about your day; let us ask ourselves this question: Is it a just cause in which I have invested or is it just because I like a good fight? A fight that truly only serves to keep us from dealing with the pain within ourselves and hearing the hurt that plagues our neighbor.
Be rooted in truth, be passionate about justice, be zealous for the grace and hope that Jesus came to give to an already condemned world; but do not fall prey to the vanity of pot stirrers who produce little more than a good reason for people to stop hearing your voice.