Esther was a woman who used her voice to speak up for people suffering injustice. Her husband, the king, allowed his second in command to issue an order in his name to, “destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day…and to plunder their goods” (Esther 3:13). Her Uncle Mordecai heard about the royal edict and got word to Esther, asking her to plead the cause of her people to the king. The law forbade anyone, including the queen, to approach the king without being summoned. This offense was punishable by death. At great risk to herself, Queen Esther approached King Xerxes to advocate for her people. God delivered the Jewish people from slaughter that day. He used the voice of his daughter, the orphan made queen, to bring justice to his people. We, like Esther, are daughters of the King, given a voice to speak up for the voiceless.
Bearing the image of our God who loves justice (Isa. 61:8), God requires ordinary people like you and me to be justice seekers, and he gives us the grace to do what he requires. We can start by recognizing that he has equipped us with gifts to be used for his glory as we seek justice. One of those gifts is a voice. We have a voice because we have an audience. We all have our own unique sphere of influence that will hear when we speak about injustice. We speak to our Father on behalf of the suffering, and we speak to the people we know so we can fight for justice together.
Proverbs 31:8 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” The world is filled with vulnerable people in hopeless situations who are voiceless. No one hears their cries or cares if they do, but God hears and cares.
Psalm 34:17-18 tells us that, “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.“
As his image bearers, we too must hear the cries of the voiceless. This requires us to be near them. Tim Keller says, “You cannot help with a burden unless you come close to burdened people.” We must go to burdened people. We must read about the voiceless. We must ask about the vulnerable. In his book, You Can Change, Tim Chester says, “Jesus was God getting involved with us.” We become imitators of Christ when we involve ourselves with the orphan, the widow, the impoverished, the persecuted, the slave, and the refugee; and as we do, we will naturally desire to speak up for them.
When we use our voices purposefully to seek justice, as God commands, it inspires others to do the same. I need to hear from you and you need to hear from me. This is one way the global church stays informed. It’s good for me to be reminded of Christians being persecuted in Israel so that I can tell my small group, and we can join in the fight for justice. I don’t wake up interceding for sex slaves in Nepal, but it’s good for me to hear of their plight so that I can pray and support their rescuers. It’s good when I speak up on behalf of impoverished pastors in Kenyan villages that desperately need theological training. It empowers you to talk to your pastor about ways your local church can help with scholarships so that more Kenyan pastors can be trained.
Meet a friend for coffee and tell her about the nonprofit you heard about that rescues girls in India who are at risk for gendercide. Direct the conversations at your mom’s group to the article about the pastor’s wife in Greece ministering to former sex slaves. Send an email to your Sunday School class about contributing towards an agricultural project for a pastor in Guatemala who is helping the poor. Global networking for God’s glory is at the heart of speaking up for others.
When Christians hear other Christians speaking up for the vulnerable it has the power to ignite a dormant flame within them, which is a reminder that they have a voice to be used for the voiceless (Heb. 10:24). We advocate to motivate people to act. We need to create a culture of advocacy, remembering that advocacy finds its origins in Christ. He is our advocate before the Father (1 John 2:1). When Mordecai heard that Esther was scared to advocate for the Jews, he warned, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
God sovereignly placed Esther in her position to influence the king. Likewise, he has placed us in our positions of influence for his purposes. Will we use our voices to speak up for the voiceless in our time?
**A version of this article was originally published at morningbymorning.org.