Stand Up and Be Counted

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Stand Up and Be Counted

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It could hardly be a more realistic setting for the release of a new James Bond film. The remake of Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale" has been an incredible box office success in the United Kingdom for several reasons. One of them may well be the intrigue connected to the recent death of two Russians. On the 7th October, 45-year-old Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed outside her home in Moscow. As a journalist she accused officials of abuses of power and wrote about events behind the scenes in Russian politics. The death in London last week of 43-year-old Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB colonel, has been linked to his desire to publicise details about Politkovskaya's death. For over three weeks he lay in hospital as his body tissue was under attack from a deadly dose of radioactive polonium-210. People may speculate where the blame lies for the execution of both individuals. Politkovskaya and Litvinenko put their lives on the line for what they believed should be told to the world. The opposite of conviction is inaction, fear, and indifference. Irwin Cotler, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, in a speech in May 2005, said, "The genocide of European Jewry succeeded not only because of the culture of hate and industry of death but because of crimes of indifference, because of conspiracies of silence. And we have witnessed an appalling indifference and silence in our own day which took us down the road to the unthinkable—ethnic cleansing in the Balkans—and down the road to the unspeakable—the genocide in Rwanda—made even more unspeakable because this genocide was preventable. No one can say that we did not know. But we did not act. And we did not act in the genocide by attrition in Darfur. "And so, it is our responsibility to break down these walls of indifference, to shatter these conspiracies of silence—to stand up and be counted and not look around to see whoever else is standing before we make a judgment to do so—because in the world in which we live, there are few people prepared to stand, let alone be counted. The words of Edmund Burke come back to haunt us—‘the surest way to ensure that evil will triumph in the world is for enough good people to do nothing'" ( There should be things we believe with all our being—standards and issues that are worthy of putting our lives at risk. As Christians, are we willing to stand up and be counted for our foundational beliefs, the teachings found in the Holy Scriptures? Most of what happens in society is based on core values of self-interest. As the last of the original apostles, John wrote before his death, "For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world" (1 John 2:16). Those who claim to follow Jesus Christ should be driven by a deep belief that their lives must be committed to action. That action should be focused on the principle of renewing and reorienting their minds towards God and fellow man, then on proclaiming how God wants to present that same wonderful opportunity to all humanity. People who see that the moral standards and religious beliefs of the majority do not match the Bible need to take personal action, to become actively involved in the Christian mission to awaken and enlighten others. Students of the New Testament who realize that many of the core beliefs and practices of the early church have been discarded or changed should stand up and be counted! As Jude wrote in his short letter, "I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (verse 3, emphasis added). The true Christian faith is not adaptable to every new whim of our current society. To shrink back from being actively involved would show we fear the world and its powers more than the Judge of all men. To know the truth demands action, change and commitment. Jesus spoke plainly, "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38). Be sure to read online, download copies or request printed copies of our free publications Transforming Your Life and The Church Jesus Built. They will help you to stand up and be counted.