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Lately, it seems like whenever a person speaks up for the good of something, they had better be prepared to be treated like crap. With that in mind, those of you who have thin skin might want to pull in your tails, because I’m about to step on them.
When you are friends with someone, you have love for that person. You understand that they have different opinions, different beliefs in some cases, and that they may not agree with everything that you say or do. Calling yourself a friend means more than simply accepting someone’s request on Facebook. A friend is someone who means something to you, not just a profile of someone who may or may not have been attractive to you at one time for some reason or another. That said, our friends may present certain challenges to us at times. It is our responsibility as their friend to let them know when they are speaking things that aren’t necessarily true. It is our responsibility as a friend to help them see when what they are saying or doing does not make sense to the rational individual. By the same token, they should be willing to do this for us.
In this age of tolerance and political correctness, we have become a society that wants to hold hands and sing campfire songs with one another so long as we don’t have to hold hands with someone that wishes to assert their stand on those things which we have decided are offensive to us. We can only align ourselves with those who believe absolutely as we believe. We wouldn’t dare say that we don’t like you because of your inability to follow the crowd, but we won’t go out of our way to try and understand why you believe what you believe either. Oh, and we probably won’t even care what you believe if it in any way threatens what we believe to be true. Because if you’re not in agreement, you’re just wrong.
Okay, well. That explains why we are in the shape that we are in. That explains why Christians engage in heated debates with one another over the issue of who they are supposed to love and who they are supposed to hate instead of how they are supposed to love and what they are supposed to hate. That explains why those who don’t believe in Christ can justify that unbelief by hiding behind the failure of the Christian to display God’s glory through their hateful speech and through their hateful actions. It explains why people simply don’t get that the whole point of Jesus dying on the cross for us was to erase the need for us to constantly wave the red flag at each other and to feel that we must justify our every action by condemning those who make mistakes we haven’t yet made in an effort to cover up those we’ve already mastered.
Our whole mentality these days is about labeling someone else’s misfortune as willful ugliness and calling our own ugliness a bout of misfortune. It’s about calling someone’s choice to be disobedient and self-serving their right and justifying the unfair treatment of those who had no choice by saying that those individuals feel it is an entitlement. It’s about talking out both sides of your neck and simply turning from one side to the other as it suits us. It’s a ridiculous inability to commit to truth and fairness in the interest of justice and self-preservation. But the bottom line is this; if God isn’t in it, then it isn’t worth having or doing.
I would say that I’m hoping not to offend anyone with this post, but I’m not even sure that it would matter what kind of disclaimer is used. Someone, somewhere won’t like it. Someone, somewhere will say that I am wrong to uphold Christ’s teachings by not being willing to say that everyone out there is okay the way they are. Well, Christ never said we were all okay the way we were. He said God loves us as we are, but He doesn’t always agree with what we are doing. God loves us because He created us, but He wants us to strive for a life that glorifies the Maker. In everything we do, we must have confidence that Jesus would be comfortable doing the same. If we have to stop and question whether or not Jesus would engage in the things we do, then we probably shouldn’t be doing them. If we become angry thinking about what God might think of what we are doing or saying, then it is probably safe to say that what we are doing or saying is wrong.
But God did not put us on this earth to go after one another and to play the role of judge and jury over those who don’t share our enthusiasm for Him. He put us here to be a light that illuminates the darkness. He put us here to share the joy He puts in our hearts as we grow closer to Him. He didn’t call us to beat down those who are already beaten down. He didn’t call us to throw angry words at one another because our understanding of a Scripture has given us a case of the big-head. He didn’t call us to stomp our feet, take our toys and go home whenever someone questioned why we didn’t believe the same way they believe. He called us to give our testimony in such a way that the person listening is so overtaken with love and kindness and warmth and admiration for the respect we have given them while sticking to our convictions that they cannot hate us no matter how much they want to. He called us to make others want Him the way we do. I don’t know of any salesperson that closes a sale by insulting the potential customer’s previous choice of merchandise. I don’t know of any successful business person who closes a deal by calling the prospective client an idiot because they’ve never heard of or understood the need for that company’s particular product. In most cases, if you pull that kind of thing, your customers walk right out the door and look for someone who is willing to sell them something that sounds like it will love them back.
I’m frustrated with us, my friends. I know that we can do better than this. I know that He wants us to do better than this. And God help us, I know that we should do better than this. So what’s stopping us? What is so much more important to us that we can’t set ourselves aside and think about what our decisions and actions will mean on the Day of Judgment? Which alliances will serve you when all is said and done? If those we call friend cannot trust us to understand and respect God’s authority and power, then we can be no friend to them at all.
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
~Proverbs 18:24 NIV~