“Do everything in love.” I Corinthians 16:14 (NIV)
Throughout history there have been many heated debates about many different topics. I don’t usually talk about “hot issues” and this post isn’t an exception. I’ve never been a person who enjoys confrontation but as I get older, I realize it’s not really about the issue but about the bigger picture. If you study Jesus’ life, you can see glimpses of what I’m talking about, but let me explain.
I believe, sometimes God calls us to take a stand. Sometimes, I believe, God calls us to be silent, even if the issue is one worth fighting for. Other times, I believe God calls us to be supportive of others, coming alongside them in their fight but not necessarily fighting ourselves. An example of that is found in Exodus 17 when Aaron and Hur helped Moses hold his hands up during a battle as God instructed.
If you look in John 8, it explains about the time the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus and He chose not to take the bait. Instead of getting into a debate with them, He chose to instead write something in the sand. The Bible isn’t specific about what, so I’m interested to know exactly what it was He wrote that caused all the men to leave without condemning the woman.
Another example found in John 4 explains how Jesus confronted the woman at the well regarding the man she was living with was not her husband. However, I love how all the conversations Jesus has with people are wrapped in love. He speaks in love first, then and only then addresses the individual about their sinful lifestyle.
I think we would be smart to follow Jesus’ examples. The only way to do that is to develop a close relationship with God. Read His word to find out how He handled situations and then do our best to imitate His actions. Sometimes, as a result, God will call us to take action regarding a specific issue presented in society. Other times, we could be asked to support someone else’s fight by praying quietly from the background while they do the fighting. Always, though, our actions, our attitudes, and our hearts should be ones of loving the people involved and showing attitudes that reflect the Jesus we serve.
I’m pleasantly surprised how respect can be earned by even your strongest adversary when love is demonstrated and acceptance of people themselves is shown. Jesus always loved the people He encountered even if the lifestyle they were living in was one He didn’t endorse.
I’m going to keep listening to God’s voice so I can obey. Sometimes I’ll need to join in the fight, other times pray from the sidelines, and still other times stand alongside. I want to be a person who follows Jesus’ example in all my encounters. I’ll never do it perfectly, but that won’t keep me from trying. I want to make sure love is demonstrated loud and clear in all my interactions, just as Jesus has shown me through His example.
©2014 Cheri Swalwell