Hello Friends. I am not quite sure when I blogged last, but it certainly feels like its been awhile!
It is a good time, with Spring (maybe?) on the brink…
In my heart though, there is some turmoil. I feel the turmoil of inequality, abuse, and poverty when I get prayer requests from International Justice Mission, or when I write letters to our sponsored children, or when I hear news about Mali or Israel, or when I wait with adoptive families for news so much slower than Christmas. I’ve learned that this grief is a part of my life, and I bear it with the Lord, with being the key word. But there is a different kind of turmoil, and I think many in our country feel it right now. It’s the turmoil of disagreement and strife among friends and family and believers that has risen due to issues of morality. It seems that we are all stepping over each other, raising our hands, jumping up and down, trying to get our version of “values” picked. I’m not saying we should be silent, Beloved. But here are some thoughts I’m wanting to focus on in these times…
I am comforted by the truth that this was never supposed to be my home. As believers, we are ambassadors! Think of a foreign ambassador and what they do! The US Ambassador to Kenya doesn’t try to make the Kenyans live and think and act like Americans. No, they simply represent their country to the best of their ability. We represent the Kingdom of God with the help of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes that means we put in our 2 cents about moral standards, I certainly don’t see why we can’t because as light we brighten and as salt we enhance–our words of truth and wisdom can be great gifts–but most of the time I think being an ambassador is just going to mean we remember we are strangers, we don’t expect to have a country at all like our own, we aim to hold true personally to the standards of our own King, and we offer luxurious gifts of grace and love from Him to anyone who will receive them.
I believe that the feelings that flare up inside when our moral standards are not agreed upon by the masses or the lawmakers comes from two things. One, we are feeling God’s sadness that people are turning farther and farther from His touch and His wise parental guidance. It’s hard to see our country which has been blessed as “One Nation Under God” slowly but surely make that last word taboo. It’s heartbreaking when believers interpret the Word differently than each other and feel that they could not possibly be wrong. Christian values doesn’t even mean the same thing to me as it may to you! That’s because none of us are perfectly in sync with the heart of God. But on the issues that I know for sure break God’s heart, I am learning that these difficulties and disagreements should simply lead us to pray so much more, and make our grief over these things more of a vertical conversation rather than a horizontal one.
Two, I think we are upset because we’re simply afraid. It is normal for a child to feel fear when they are not given boundaries, or when they live inside boundaries but all of a sudden no one else is enforcing their playmate’s boundaries. When we feel the morality ship is starting to sink, we become afraid and insecure, because we see that the lack of boundaries is going to bring bondage and negative natural consequences instead of freedom and rewards, like we see in families where the parents refuse to discipline their children. When we feel afraid though, we must remember that this is not our home. We’re not supposed to settle in comfortably and build a fort around our families, hoping to escape the consequences of the actions we were four square against. Its just like in a marriage or a tight knit community. Whether you like what a loved one did or not, you’re likely going to have to suffer the effects of their choices right along with them, at the very least indirectly…and that makes us scared. And sure, angry, too. But we don’t need to be afraid.
We are just passing through, friends. We were not promised reward, physical freedom, luxury, ease, or safety here in this foreign land! We should expect turmoil, disagreement (while we don’t go looking for it, Jesus never once sugar coated the truth in order to make peace), misinterpretation of our beliefs, misunderstanding of our intentions… and we should bear up under these peaceably without taking offense, like Jesus. Don’t be afraid to live by your consciences, that doesn’t make you prejudiced or judgmental! That’s your right as a human being to think what you want! But we must remember the gentleness in which Jesus showed the heart of God to the world. As the Beloved, remember this: “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:23-25)
The humility of a forgiven sinner can go a long way in shining the light of Jesus in a dark world.