But the Benjamites would not listen to their fellow Israelites. From their towns they came together at Gibeah to fight against the Israelites. Judges 20:13-14
The other eleven Israelite tribes wanted the Benjamites to hand over those from their tribe who had raped and murdered the concubine (verse 5), but the Benjamites refused. They would rather fight and protect their culpable relatives even though they were vastly outnumbered. The conflict nearly wiped out the whole tribe.
“The Benjamites decided to support their kinsmen because they were their relatives, rather than standing with God for what is right” (Constable’s Commentary on Judges).
With the benefit of hindsight, we wonder why the Benjamites would defend those who behaved so badly. Ultimately they risk their lives to protect the guilty. Yet we see a similar thing happen in our churches today—people will side with their family and friends rather than stand up for truth and God’s purposes for his church.
It isn’t easy to voice an opinion which differs from your family or those you’ve been going to church with for decades. The loss of relationship with those you’ve been close to for many years seems too heavy a price to pay to pursue God’s plans for his church. Yet when we lack the courage of our convictions or hope someone else will take responsibility for moving the church forward into God’s purposes, nothing happens. Church leadership is limited in its effectiveness when it lacks support. Leadership cannot make the necessary decisions to follow God’s directives when the congregation remains silent or unsupportive.
So many of our churches are dying a slow death because people decide to support their relatives and long term friends rather than standing with God for what is right.