How can we expect a righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? –Sophie Scholl
During a recent work assignment, Sophie Scholl’s story entered my life again. A vocal member of the White Rose’s non-violent opposition to Nazi Germany, Sophie, her brother Hans, and friend Christoph Probst, wrote and distributed resistance leaflets. The Gestapo caught, condemned, and executed the three Christians for treason.
Her words pounded in my head. I stopped working when my husband came home, and read the words to him. I stopped working a little later, found the words again, and wrote the words down. And still, five days later, I find her words percolating in my soul.
I looked for more context. The words are quoted in Seeking Peace: Notes and Conversations Along the Way.
Just because so many things are in conflict does not mean that we ourselves should be divided. Yet time and time again one hears it said that since we have been put into a conflicting world, we have to adapt to it. Oddly, this completely unchristian idea is most often espoused by so-called Christians, of all people. How can we expect a righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone who will give himself up undividedly to a righteous cause? …
I’ve been thinking of a story from the Old Testament: Moses stood all day and all night with outstretched arms, praying to God for victory. And whenever he let down his arms, the enemy prevailed over the children of Israel. Are there still people today who never weary of directing all their thinking and all their energy, single-heartedly, to one cause?
In a general sense, righteousness is moral or justifiable actions. To me, living a life prescribed by Jesus Christ’s commandments and ordinances defines righteousness. Are there still people like that? Am I like that? Have I given myself up undividedly to a righteous cause?
The Parable of the Good Samaritan, a Metaphor for the Cause of Righteousness
My mind darted, in a new way, to the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Instead of seeing the injured man as my neighbor, I saw the man embodying the cause of righteousness. Thieves assaulted him, leaving him for dead. The priest and Levite passed by, unwilling or unable to become unclean by touching the injured, possibly dead, man.
I don’t know what their situation was. Were they in a hurry or fearful for their own lives? Were they wrapped up in the demands of their own obligations? Did they see and wish they could help so prayed that someone could come along with the ability to help? Did they see the magnitude of the scene and just not want to put in the time or effort to redeem the situation?
I’ve thought all of these things when traversing my own Jericho Road.
In the parable, the Savior inferred that had the priest and Levite hearts been in the right place, they could have served the man, this wounded neighbor. Jehovah promised Joshua, and us, as Joshua looked at this metaphorical man he was called to serve, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Even with His promise, it’s not always easy to stop for the people or causes or way of life the Savior challenges us to seek. Jonah initially passed WAY on the other side of the wounded cause the Lord asked him to take up.
Laman and Lemuel repented of their sins and worshiped God, but soon found themselves back in their previous comfort zones on the other side of the road. After living the commandments his whole life, the rich young ruler asked Jesus, “What lack I yet?” When he heard the Savior’s answer, he turned away and passed by on the other side.
To me, an especially interesting lesson in this context is Peter’s attempt to walk on water.
After recognizing Jesus approaching on the water, “Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water’. And He said, ‘Come’.
And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, ‘Lord, save me’.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, ‘O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?'”
Broken, Beaten, Tattered with None to Uphold It
“How can we expect a righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause?” –Sophie Scholl
There it lay, that Godly cause, that moral action dying in the hot desert sun on the Jericho Road, broken, beaten, tattered with apparently none to uphold it, rectify it, carry it to victory.
But there was one– one the other travelers despised, one with healing in his hands, one willing to do whatever necessary to help the apparently lost cause. There was one who crossed the road and administered relief. There was one.
I learned recently that Isaiah’s passionate plea “who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living” is a call for someone, anyone, everyone, to stand in defense of Christ and His truth, therefore, His righteousness cause.
I think of some of Jesus Christ’s disciples who, offended by His doctrine, decided to not follow Him anymore. After traveling so long with Him, they decided to pass by on the other side.
“Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Some decided to pass by on the other side. The others knew there wasn’t any other option in life for them than at the side of that seemingly broken, tattered cause.
Your Journey on the Jericho Road
What about today? Do you see that wounded man on the road to Jericho? How do you respond?
“What can one person do?” “I can’t make a difference.” “I hate conflict.” “I wouldn’t know where to begin.”
Did Sophie Scholl’s efforts matter when she crossed the road and picked up that broken, bloody, fruitless cause in the way she as an individual could?
She said, “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.”
During her trial she affirmed, “I am, now as before, of the opinion that I did the best that I could do for my nation. I therefore do not regret my conduct and will bear the consequences that result from my conduct.”
Thousands of Individuals Have Chosen to Cross the Road to Do Something
Throughout history, there are so many individuals who crossed the road and aided the cause of righteousness. Sometimes they stood alone in their quest for freedom and righteousness. Often, when they crossed the road, they found other like-minded individuals and they picked up the wounded, beaten cause together, and carried it on their backs to a place where it could be nursed to health and strength and victory.
One of my favorite stories of an individual who rallied a nation to wake up, cross the road, and take up the cause of freedom was Book of Mormon leader Captain Moroni.
And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole…he went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had written upon the rent part, and crying with a loud voice, saying:
Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them.
And it came to pass that when Moroni had proclaimed these words, behold, the people came running together.
They ran to cross the road, to pick up that load, together. Their fight was long and horrific. Sophie, Hans, and Christof’s fight was long and horrific. Maybe the fight you’re facing is long and horrific, too.
Ultimately, because they and others like them stood individually and collectively, the war they fought ended in the righteousness they sought–even though some of their lives ended before the war they fought did.
“How can we expect a righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause?” Sophie Scholl
Are you willing? What cause do you see on your road to Jericho? Are you too busy or afraid or doubt your abilities to make a difference?
If you are, that’s OK. If the cause is a righteous cause, you will not be alone in your endeavor. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Because the Lord, more than any other, has totally given Himself up individually to a righteous cause.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.