I wept as I watched the recording of Ukrainian President Zelensky as he addressed members of Congress yesterday. After delivering most of his speech in Ukrainian through a translator, Mr. Zelensky closed by speaking in English:
“Peace in your country doesn’t depend anymore only on you and your people. It depends on those next to you and those who are strong. Strong doesn’t mean big. Strong is brave and ready to fight for the life of his citizens and citizens of the world. For human rights, for freedom, for the right to live decently, and to die when your time comes, and not when it’s wanted by someone else, by your neighbor.”
As Mr. Zelensky delivered these statements in English, Senator Angus King said later, “There was a collective holding of the breath.”
President Zelensky closed his historic address with statements that should not be ignored or easily dismissed:
“Today, the Ukrainian people are defending not only Ukraine, we are fighting for the values of Europe and the world, sacrificing our lives in the name of the future. That’s why today the American people are helping not just Ukraine, but Europe and the world to give the planet the life to keep justice in history.
“Now, I am almost forty-five years old; today, my age stopped when the hearts of more than one hundred children stopped beating. I see no sense in life if it cannot stop the deaths. And this is my main issue as the leader of my people, great Ukrainians.
“And as the leader of my nation, I am addressing the President Biden, you are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world; being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.
“Thank you. Glory to Ukraine. Thank you for your support. Thank you.”
Suffering anywhere should break believers’ hearts; however, we are not called to simply grieve over injustice. We are commanded to intervene. Are we sincere when we pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?” Will we act for those who cannot act and defend those who are defenseless? Consider carefully God’s own admonition:
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3-4, ESV)