Wednesday, August 16, 2017

You gotta fight, for your right…




We are taught at an early age we have to fight for what we want.  “It’s a dog eat dog world,” “fight for what you believe in.”  Our country was born out of fighting.  It is in our blood.
We love a good fight.
Just look at attorney adds. “It’s my money; I need it now!” Most claim to have a team of people to fight on your behalf.  Fight the IRS, fight lawyers with your lawyers, fight your DUI, fight, fight, fight. It seems everything is a fight.

Even the Beasty Boys said you have to fight for your right to party.  No one is going to give you the right; you have to take it, by force if necessary (insert ridiculous food fight here).

When we think we aren’t going to get what we need or what we deserve, we are supposed to fight for it.

With all this fighting, the only way to view life is one, big fight.

But I can’t see the world and my life this way.  Not everyone is an enemy.  I don’t hate people. I’m not worried I won’t “get mine” (unless you are talking about driving, then I will fight).  I won’t live my life out of fear.



I guess that is what so much of today is about. There is a lot of fear out there.  People are afraid of many different things.  Mostly they seem to be afraid of what they may lose if the other side wins. Some have fear about unequal treatment.  Some are afraid for their very lives. Everyone is polarizing about everything and fighting about it.


As Christians what are we to do?

God is obvious on this point. Our job is to Love God, Love our neighbors (that includes whoever you assume is your enemy) and make disciples.  He will take care of the rest. God’s plan is to use his people to show the world how beautiful and loving he is.  We receive from him and pass it on to those around us, neighbors and enemies alike. The Scriptures teach that perfect love (which we have received) casts out all fear. - I John 4.18



When we are afraid, we know where to turn.  We go to Christ and receive anew the perfect love he has for us in all our flaws. It’s the same love he has for the world.  His love removes fear.



The world has no such hope.  Imagine the fear without any love.  That is where people are coming from today.  Unending fear.  As people who know Jesus, we best be taking advantage of the love he offers us because we are their hope.  I have said it before, and I will repeat it, love is for people we don’t like and don’t agree with. Love is to govern ALL our relationships. When we love people, we demonstrate Christ’s love.  His love removes fear.


I am to love the Neo-Nazi.  I am to love the pedophile.  I am to love the rapist.  I am to love the Republican and Democrat.  I am to love the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jew or any other belief system.  I am to love the All lives Matter; Black lives Matter; No lives Matter if I don’t deem them fit people. 

My job is to love people, and I think this means to fight for them.

I am a citizen of the United States by God’s grace.  My birth here was not my choice but my fortune.  I am so grateful and proud to be an American even if I blush at our current state. As a citizen of the U.S., I have certain rights given to me by my government and guaranteed by the Constitution. 


I am also a citizen of the Kingdom of God by his Grace.

This Kingdom supersedes the United States.  The rights I have as a Christian outstrip any I may lay claim to as an American.  What are my “Christian” rights?  NONE.
I have no claim to any rights as a Christian.  There is no panacea of “Christian” country or land.  There isn’t a “Christian” government. There is no Christian political hierarchy.
In this Kingdom, there is a King.  He is in charge, and I get to learn to trust him.  I don’t always see what he is doing or why he does it, but I believe in his rule as evidenced by how Jesus lived his life.



As a citizen of the U.S., I am part of a political entity.  I can use my “rights” as an American to do what I believe is best for re-presenting Jesus and his Kingdom to a fear-filled world.  That doesn’t mean I fight every cultural battle.  I do mean I champion those who are the least, last and the lost. (Matthew 25.40-45)
It means I will fight for the rights of others.  Jesus said when we do something in His name, loving those around us, caring for them and instilling dignity in them, we are doing it to him.

When we fight for the civil rights of any group, we fight for dignity.  Dignity is an intrinsic human value that God placed on everyone, despite birth place, color, sexual orientation, political view point, etc.; The job of the Christian is to instill the dignity God has placed on humanity by how we interact with our world.  “For God so loved the world…”  If he loved it, so should we.



So how does it work when we want to instill dignity in people who don’t know they need it or don’t want it?  Love them.  Listen to them.  The reason people shout is that they are afraid they won’t be heard.  Disagree with them with respect.  Instead of belittling or name calling, honor them, even when they don’t deserve the honor.

I affirm the right to free speech when it doesn’t threaten.  You lose the right to speak openly when you threaten others publically. You are removing their dignity.

That doesn't mean I can't publically disagree with you. If I don’t agree with you, it doesn’t mean I hate you, regardless of what some may argue.

Even as I type this, there are some who would have the Bible listed as a hate manual. Preaching from it could be condemned as hate speech.  Christianity could become threatened in the West like never before.  While I wouldn’t welcome those things occurring, I would ask a simple question. Who are we that we deserve to avoid that kind of persecution?



If fighting for the rights of others eventually costs me my Civil Rights, so be it. I would be in a long line of godly men and women who have done the same.  I will not operate in fear of what may be, especially when it comes to loving those I may not like and don’t agree with.

If Christians took this seriously, there would be much less fear in the world.  We would be known for standing up for those who are afraid.  The church could be a better refuge for the fear-filled.

There are things worth fighting for.  I hope as Christians we can see them clearly and then, fight with all we have. 

The world depends on us.

“…we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end.
We shall fight in France
we shall fight on the seas and oceans
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air
we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be
we shall fight on the beaches
we shall fight on the landing grounds
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets
we shall fight in the hills
we shall never surrender…” 









– Winston Churchill speech after Dunkirk, on fighting the Nazi's