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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Take a stand - for love

Winston Churchill once said, "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." He also said, "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."  Jesus said, "Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others." (John 13:34-35)  As good as it is to "take a stand", it is far better to stand in such a way you actually draw others to the one who demonstrated love for all of mankind. As good as it is to be courageous, taking the lead and being the hero, it is far better to know those you are leading in a deep and genuine way.

The Great Preacher of peace and love came for you, and His voice found those of you who were near and those who were far away.  By Him both have access to the Father in one Spirit. And so you are no longer called outcasts and wanderers but citizens with God’s people,members of God’s holy family, and residents of His household.  (Ephesians 2:17-19 VOICE)

Churchill was correct - when we stand for something, someone will always find fault with what we stand for.  Why?  We don't all have the same perspective of things in this life and as we venture toward taking a stand for something, someone else will say that isn't the right thing to stand up for.  It is human nature to disagree on some points, but there are some we simply cannot disagree about:

1. We are all human beings, deserving of respect, love, and compassionate understanding. Our "stand" may not always agree, but the similarities we share should cause us to reach out to each other in love and respect.  Do we have to agree to respect the fact we are all members of the human race, uniquely different, but awesomely similar?  No.  Do we have to agree to understand the heart longs for contact with something outside of itself?  No.  Doe we have to agree to realize there are hurting souls, struggling to just know they matter to someone? No. We just have to remember how Christ demonstrated his love toward us - not judging us for our sin, but embracing us in spite of our actions.

2. We aren't always going to see life through the same set of eyes, interpreting it the exact same way.  Yes, there are things we will not and should not compromise, but there are ways to not compromise and still love the one who doesn't exactly see things the way we do.  It takes more effort to learn to love another than it does to say we cannot stand their way of life, but it is exactly what Jesus did on our behalf.  He may not have condoned our compromise, but he never stopped reaching for us!

3. We might actually make "outcasts" of some by the labels we apply and the attitude we form toward that "label".  "Slow", "Dim", "Loser", and the list goes on.  All labels, but are they really suggestive of the real heart of the individual "behind that label".  If we would just understand we probably struggle the most with what we understand the least, then we might not be a quick to place labels upon anyone in this world.  Just sayin!