Those who know me understand that I will continue to explain (or some might say argue) and idea until an individual actually get it. I am very patient, not because I enjoy debate, but because I believe firmly that an understanding is much more to be desired than an answer. He that truly desires an understanding is worthy of deliberation until the goal is accomplished.
I am coming to realize that some will never understand because they CHOOSE not to understand. I’m reminded of various parables Jesus spoke of concerning the sower.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
Matthew 13:14-15 NIV
On the issue of race today, I’ve been perplexed why some of what I generally presume to be good-hearted White people just don’t see privilege. They often equate privilege with financial benefits when indeed privilege extends far beyond the confines of money. Without getting too deep into the argument of White Privilege (which would be a diversion from my point), I’ll simply say the privilege resides more impactfully in the intangible benefits of being White in America. Many will never perceive it, though they’re ever seeing. Others will never understand it despite ever hearing it that the scripture might be fulfilled.
I realize that many will argue that this scripture relates to the “kingdom of God.” I submit to those who would oppose the analogy that the kingdom of God seeks justice and equality. But still that is still a slight diversion from my overarching point. That is that many, who are supposedly citizens of the Kingdom of God (e.g., Christians) remain silent at injustices perpetrated against minorities and the disenfranchised in our country. Though the injustices are clearly in their faces, they fail to perceive or understand it. I’ve come to realize that they just WON’T GET IT!
How can a Christian not see these things? How can they continue to seemingly prosper even though they tolerate and quietly (in their silence) endorse the injustice? Jesus reveals it in a subsequent parable in Matthew 13. If you’re not very familiar with the parable, it is certainly worth the read, or refresher, even if you are familiar.
The parable speaks of the seed that was sown and some fell by the wayside. Others fell on stony ground, thorny ground and good soil. The seed that fell by the wayside represents those who never received Christ or salvation. I’d expect a lack of compassion and conviction against injustice from them. However, those who are professed Christians and remain seemingly indifferent are the ones that confound me. The parable further elucidates the mechanism behind this atrocity.
The seeds that fall on stony ground take root but it is in shallow ground. When tribulation or persecution comes, their convictions are equally shallow. Many Christian leaders are shallow root Christians who are more concerned about losing members, declining offerings or alienating other influential leaders who invite them to speak at their mega churches than they are about standing up for righteousness. They are vocal when the issue is universally accepted as “sanctioned” evangelical talking point like abortion or gay marriage, bit when required to speak out about matters like race, that threatens their position, power or possessions, they cower and keep silent.
There are also those seeds that take root and grow, but they are unfruitful because the thorns that grew among them, choke it. These are the pastors and leaders who have very “successful” ministries, tens of thousands of members in their mega churches, multiple campus locations, helicopters, planes and such. The bible says that these become more concerned with the cares of this world and “deceitfulness of wealth” (verse 22) that they have no value. They fail to utilize the platform God has given them to speak up against injustice but are consumed with things of the world (e.g., hot-button political matters). These are the people like Franklin Graham and Paula White whom I believe compromised the justice that God so loves for the sake of political or legislative agendas. And still remain silent and non-critical of those who in their silence and tolerance condone the evils such as that which took place in Charlottesville.
Why is it then that some seem to still be fruitful and prosperous? Could it be that they perceive their continued “success” as a sanction by God of their inaction? Verses 24-29 clarifies this as well. An evil man came after the farmer who sowed good seed and sowed among them weed seeds. When it was discovered, the farmer advised his servants not to pull the weeds up just yet, lest they also uproot the good wheat.
For the sake of not destroying the roots of some who are closely connected to some of these “weed seed” pastors, God will permit them to persist in selling success until the harvest (e.g., the rapture or judgement day). Much to their surprise and perhaps to the surprise of many who grew in their midst or under their ministry, they will be separated and cast into the fire.
So, while I will continue to speak out against injustice and hypocrisy, I will also understand that not all will hear and many who are silenced by their fear of persecution, ostracism and loss of power or wealth will never perceive or understand. They should find little solace in measuring the acceptability of their silence by worldly standards. Rather, they must use a Godly discernment to gage whether they will hear the words “Well done good and faithful servant.” My fear is that most of them will hear, ” ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Dr. Williams is a board certified Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose & Throat Physician) in Nashville, TN where he opened his surgical practice, Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists of Nashville.
In addition to his establishing his private surgical practice on the campus of Southern Hills Medical Center, he is also an adjunct assistant professor at Meharry Medical College and founded the Voice Care Center of Nashville, where he specializes in treating and preventing voice problems in Christian and Gospel music artists.
As an independent gospel recording artist himself, Dr. Williams has a keen insight to not only the medical and surgical implications of voice disturbances, but also the many spiritual impacts.
During his medical school training, Williams wrestled with the possible demands that his future medical career (neurosurgery or cardiac surgery at that time) would preclude his ability to effectively develop the ministry he’d been called into. While completing his Ph.D. studies, a colleague suggested Otolaryngology.