Updated: Sep 14, 2020
"Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow." ~ Isaiah 1:17 (NKJV)
Disclaimer: Here's the deal on today's topic...
This is something I struggle with. I may or may not have the right end of the stick. And, in truth, (and in Truth,) we can probably each only go to Scripture for ourselves and listen for the Still Small Voice to lead us in what is right for our own faith-journey and human journey through this world.
That said, I recently came upon a blog post based on Bible verses, an eMinistry very much like the one I hope to create here, that stated emphatically, with no room for argument, that no believer should ever so much as spend time with anyone who is not.
They anchored this assertion on 2 Corinthians 6:14...
"Stay away from people who are not followers of the Lord! Can someone who is good get along with someone who is evil? Are light and darkness the same?" (CEV)
and, 1 John 1:6-7...
"And if we say that we have communion with Him and we walk in darkness, we are lying, and we are not informed of the truth. But if we walk in The Light as He is in The Light, we have communion with each other and the blood of Yeshua his Son purges us from all of our sins." (ABPE)
and, it broke my heart.
I'm not even sure how they began to make the leap from the second example, but they did.
Based on those two verses, the claim was that anyone who associates with unbelievers, but claims to live in the Light, is a liar.
Even writing this now, my heart shatters at the very thought.
Tell that to Daniel. Tell that to Mother Teresa. Tell that to Jesus himself, for heaven's sake. Can you imagine if Jesus had only ever allowed Himself to associate with those who were as filled with the presence of God as He was, or really were in fact God Himself? First of all, that would be a table for one His whole life, an exceedingly lonely life. And, second... My friend, that is not why He came.
There are a lot of ugly judgments in the world at large about believers right now. We're human. Our journey is to be as Christ-like as we can be, but we're going to get it wrong. So, some of those judgments come from our humanity. I feel as though this is probably a misinterpretation of the intent of Scripture on someone's part, and those misunderstandings on our part can lead to a perception of the Church in the world that is less than favorable. If someone is in need of love or care or a friend or anything at all, they're part of God's creation, and I believe He would want us to see them through His eyes and honor them and love them as He would, no matter their beliefs.
When Christ called us to serve the underserved, the poor, the widow, and the orphan, I don't think it was with the proviso that we pre-qualify them. I believe He meant what He said, serve the poor, the widow, and the orphan. And, that may simply be someone poor in spirit in this moment, or the homeless in the street, or whomever it is God puts it on your heart to love and serve well. It may even be someone across the dinner table. It is not about keeping ourselves separate from the world, but to do our utmost to be uncorrupted by the world. There's a big difference.
Love your neighbor. We are commanded to walk in love. Maybe my perspective of what He meant when He told us to love one another is me having the wrong end of the stick. But, if I'm honest, I'd rather be wrong about that. I prefer to live my life with and love all kinds of people well. I don't know. I do know I don't understand the particular platform I tripped over the other day. I do know to the very depths of my soul and the bottom of my heart, that I believe our Savior called us to regard the whole of His creation in love and with love, with respect, and with a servant's heart. In the Good Book itself, we find verses like James 4:4 and 2 Corinthians 6:14, so I guess I could be wrong about that... but I wouldn't bet on it.
Love. Love is where I stand. For ALL of His children, all of Creation. It is not for me to decide or choose any other way. I leave it to you, and between you and your Creator, as to where you land on this issue. It's just a little brokenhearted food for thought.
I pray you give me clarity in moments like this. I pray my own issues and biases and thoughts fall away, I pray Your Truth comes through.
I pray for the hearts of all of Your children, that we might stand in Your love in all of creation, with all people.
I pray that we find our way to Christ-like love and light, so we would have the privilege of showing YOU to the world... No matter what we do, no matter who we spend time with, no matter where You have us in life. Thank You for showing up in us and through us.
"I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’" ~ Matthew 25:36 (BSB)
"And the Levite shall come, because he has no part or lot with thee, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow which is in thy cities; and they shall eat and be filled, that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the works which thou shalt do." ~ Deuteronomy 14:29 (BST)
"Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world." ~ James 1:27 (The Message)
"And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight." ~ 2 Peter 3:14 (NLT)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥