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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Another type of campaign

It never ceases to amaze me all the things people will 'protest' against these days.  Whether it be taking an open mike at the county or state government meeting, or carrying pickets outside the offices of our legislators, there are groups "advocating" for some "right".  It could be the right to work for a wage they determine to be better than the present wage, the controversy over which restroom to use at a public establishment, or even that dolphins don't belong in the Arizona desert!  We have coined this "advocating activity" as taking a stand for what we believe.  Our country was founded on the principle a person's opinion mattered - hence we get the laws around the freedom of speech.  Yes, we do have the freedom to advocate or protest, but the real question is if we are "taking a stand" for the right things?

Stand up for the poor and the orphan; advocate for the rights of the afflicted and those in need. Deliver the poor and the needy; rescue them from their evil oppressors. (Psalm 82:3-4 VOICE)

I have to be truthful here - I don't usually listen to any of the presidential debates, really focus on their campaign messages, or put much faith in what the written media reports about them.  Why?  I am put off by the lack of respect we actually allow within these so called "campaign" speeches. Any more, campaigns are run as "mean" as they can be - working hard to uncover the "dirt" in someone's past or focus on their inadequacies rather than to focus on the needs of our country and how they themselves will work with others to see those needs met.  People are busy "taking stands", but are they taking a stand for things which really matter?

God tells us to stand up for the poor and the orphan.  The poor are "impoverished" in some manner - it could be their inability to find meaningful employment which allows them to provide for their needs, or their life circumstances which have left them reduced into a place of suffering all the time.  The orphan used to just describe someone without parents - no one to care for their needs as they grew up in this world. In today's sense of the word, it would be anyone (or anything) who has been "cast away" as of little value or worth.  If you are an animal rights advocate, you would see the abandoned or mistreated animals as "orphans" who need someone to stand up for their rights.  Regardless of how you interpret the orphan or the poor, the idea is that of contending for their deliverance, ensuring they are defended and protected. 

Too many focus on "taking a stand" and completely ignore the second part of the command - deliver and rescue them. It is one thing to press for the rights of the poor and orphaned. It is another to actually be the one to make a way for their deliverance or rescue from whatever it is they presently endure.  Plato said, "Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a harder battle."  You never really know just how an act of kindness can be the best means of "standing up for" the poor, needy, or orphaned in our world.  Jesus challenged his disciples to never look beyond the need, but to meet it whenever possible.  We don't need to take up picket signs, pounding the streets in protest, as much as we need to pick up our hands and extend them to meet the needs of the ones we care so passionately to defend!  Just sayin!