Monday, July 14, 2014

Standing For What Is Right

The last thing most of us want to do is stand out in a crowd. Given the choice, the vast majority of people would simply like to "live and let live" and continue living a peaceful life of blending in. We don't like conflict so we do what we can to avoid it, even if it means agreeing with the disagreeable. Whatever it takes to maintain peace. Except, followers of Jesus can't do that. We can't blend, we can't remain anonymous, we can't agree with what is disagreeable for the sake of peace. We tend to stand out in a crowd.

We live by different rules, by a different standard, by a different definition of good and evil. We are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and, like him, we must speak the truth, even when people don't want to hear it. We don't force anybody to do anything, that isn't Father's way, but we do need to let people know they have a choice. I know we would rather not draw attention to ourselves but, we are here as examples of his grace. That doesn't mean demonstrating perfection, because it doesn't exist in us, but demonstrating his power made perfect in our weakness. Consider Lot for a moment.

Lot, the nephew of Abraham, chose an interesting place to live. Sodom was a city that had lost its moral compass and did whatever they felt like doing. We only get one glimpse of Lot in this context but consider what we are told. He had just housed the visiting angels when all the men of Sodom showed up to rape them:

Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. (Genesis 19:4)

Notice that it was all the men, of every age, of every social standing. Yes, an interesting place in which Lot had chosen to live. But these angels had come under Lot's hospitality and the desert law of hospitality meant that they were under his protection. He had to do everything he could to protect them. So Lot told these men that what they planned to do was wicked and he tried to reason with them, but a heart bent on sin cannot be reasoned with. It is here I want you to notice how these wicked men describe Lot:

“This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” (v. 9)

He keeps acting as a judge. Obviously this was not the first time Lot spoke out against their unrighteous living. Even at this early stage of the developing relationship with Yahweh, enough had been revealed that Lot knew the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, holy and common. Imagine the conviction that Lot must have felt in order to find the courage to speak out against a city.

I am not saying that we need to go on the rooftops and shout out the sins of this world. Such an approach rarely works, causing the sinful heart to become even harder. However, in our sphere of influence, in our Sodom, we must stand for the righteousness of Jesus. As far as it depends on us, we cannot allow good to be called evil and evil good. As much as we might fear it, we must be willing to stand out in a crowd, to allow the light of Christ to shine in and through us, as we set the example in word and deed. We cannot compromise the Kingdom for the sake of maintaining a false peace. Remember, Jesus did not come to bring peace, except to the heart of the forgiven sinner.

My brother, my sister, let us stand on the righteous ground of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

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