A big thank you to John Lewis for more Martin Luther quotes and his reflections!
A New Year—how can we help make it new for us as Christians? by John Lewis
Luther offered the following:
You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say. –Martin Luther
As the calendar has now moved forward to 2017, so we are all moving with it–whether we like it or not. Will we take old habits with us? Will we give little or no thought to what we do or do not say in the new year? Probably so.
Luther’s words suggest to us that we often remain silent and look the other way as we observe injustice, inhumanity and harmful thoughts and actions toward others. We sometimes ignore or are not actively mindful of the hurts that we do to one another, and we remain painfully silent. Others may even look to us for comments, only to find no reaction. We are often paralyzed by our own silence and that of others.
But, it does not need to be that way. We can use this change-of-date time to be more mindful of what Luther refers to as “what we do not say.” When we see injustice close to us, or even beyond our literal and figurative borders, we have an obligation to take action and maybe even go so far as to eliminate it. Today’s instant media allows us to react and to urge others to share our concerns. It may be surprising to us to see how many “likes” we collect when we comment upon something that we do not like. The indignation of a few can grow to a groundswell from society that can provide the force for a better world. Let us join Martin Luther and let us be responsible for what we do not say. If we do not say it, it will not be heard.