Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dangerous NOT to belong!

In school I found there were various groups of people - some were pretty popular, others not so much.  In the moment, almost all of us wanted to be part of the popular group.  It was not so much the desire to "do" what they did, but to be considered to be "part of" their group.  In fact, if I had considered some of the stuff they "did", I might have reconsidered my all-fired desire to "fit into" their group!  Isn't it funny how we view others from the limited perspective of how being "part" of their "circle" will benefit us?  This is certainly not a new issue in society - nor is it soon to be resolved!


15-17 Mordecai walked out of the king's presence wearing a royal robe of violet and white, a huge gold crown, and a purple cape of fine linen. The city of Susa exploded with joy. For Jews it was all sunshine and laughter: they celebrated, they were honored. It was that way all over the country, in every province, every city when the king's bulletin was posted: the Jews took to the streets in celebration, cheering, and feasting. Not only that, but many non-Jews became Jews—now it was dangerous not to be a Jew!  (Esther 8:15-17 The Message)


In looking back, I have discovered we often believe it is more "dangerous" for us to be outside of these "groups" than it is to be on the "inside track" with them. As I consider some of the things I engaged in just to "fit in", my hair curls!  The type of speech I used, the ways I tried to dress, the out and out rebellious deeds - they just mount up and make me shake my head!


Isn't it amazing how many times we consider it a "benefit" to be anywhere other than we are, be doing something other than what we are doing, or to be someone other than we are?  If we re-read this passage closely, we see an amazing thing happening here.  


First, Mordecai was exalted because he refused to compromise his values.  He stood strong when asked to bow to Haman in homage - instead choosing to believe no one other than God himself was due this type of honor.  Our values are the one thing no one can truly take away from us.  When they are rightly rooted in the Word of God, the promises and commands contained within, we find these to be both a comfort and a strong foundation for our lives.  In looking back over my life, I discovered how much every "compromise" of a value cost me.  Values are a guiding principle - compromise them and you soon realize how much compromise costs.  Yet, hold fast to them, and you will be rewarded - maybe not in the moment, but God never forgets his children!


Second, when even one person stands upon the values they know to be right and sure, an entire nation can be affected!  We will never fully realize the impact of our "deciding moments" - not only in our own lives, but in the lives of those who observe them.  What we choose to do with the decisions of today determines the course of tomorrow - for us, and for those we influence.


Last, we never know the impact of our remaining true to our values upon those with dissimilar values.  In fact, for Mordecai the very fact he held to his beliefs and was honored for this stand began to cause those outside of the faith to consider what the "benefits" of his faith really were.  Wouldn't it be great if our deciding moments of today began to influence others to "investigate" the hope we have in Christ?  I wonder if the day will come when those who don't believe in Christ will ever feel it is a "dangerous thing" to NOT believe?  Who knows what impact we could make if we lived true to our convictions - refusing to compromise, standing upon what we believe to be true, and delighting in doing the will of God!