Love Beyond The Sidelines

“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?” –Proverbs 24:11-12 (NIV)

As a result of the internet, we are fed with news from around the world instantly. Shocking news items pose that dilemmatic question, “what are we going to do about it?” One popular course of action has been through the website Facebook. During the 2009 Iranian protests or the recent earthquake in Japan, Facebook pages were set up dedicated to the events in order to bring awareness. People who were sympathetic to the cause had the option of pressing the “like” button and show their support. Some have criticized the practice of “liking” causes on Facebook on the basis that it really does not do anything for the people for whom these events are a tangible reality. However, while I think this is true to an extent, I also believe it is a great way for people who are limited by distance and resources to show their solidarity with people who are halfway around the world.

Yet how often are we unwilling to get involved when we have the means to do so! Perhaps it is more comfortable for us to love in theory rather than to love in action. Anyone can say that they would give of themselves in love and service regardless of the circumstances. But when the time comes to put our words to the test, we shy away and are content with loving from the sidelines. Why this hesitance? Maybe it is because we do not want to give up what we feel is rightfully ours. Our comforts, our resources, our reputations, all of these things will prevent us from practicing the love of Christ if we have turned them into idols. It is only when we have surrendered ourselves to Christ that His love will overflow from our hearts. When we have seated Him on the throne of our lives and have allowed ourselves to be guided by His Spirit within us, He will give us His love that is fearless and absent of pride. Through Him guiding us in His love, our words of compassion will not be just words, but actions backed by the desire to see God save the lost and heal the broken.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Small In Our Eyes, Big In His

“Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” –Luke 12:7b (NIV)

By their own merits sparrows are actually quite insignificant. They cannot boast of the size and strength of a mighty eagle for example because they are small and weak by comparison. Neither can the sparrow boast of being symbols of power and prestige because unlike the eagle, sparrows do not adorn the flags and emblems of nations. A sparrow can not even take pride in its own rarity because they are so numerous and common, and can be found in many parts of world.  Yet despite these qualities that the sparrow seemingly has going against it, God still loves and cares for them. Being His precious creations He sustains and provides for each and every one them; His eyes never leaving them for a moment in His unfailing love.

Sometimes we may feel like sparrows. Comparing ourselves to those who seem to have it all in terms of wealth and reputation, it is human tendency to become insecure. Seeing ourselves as begin merely ordinary and insignificant, we wonder if anyone cares about our joys and struggles. We long to be noticed and loved, and when we do not feel these things, loneliness and misery are the result. But the truth is no matter how small or inconsequential we feel, we are loved by the Creator of the Universe himself. We are not only God’s creations, but bearers of His image like how a child bears the imprints of his parents.  In the eyes of Christ we are worth far more than anything we can imagine and He wants to be in relationship with us so that He will fulfil the great plans He has in store for us. When we have allowed His Spirit to enter our hearts and redeem us from our sinful nature which separated us from Him, we will know what it means to rest in His love as we submit ourselves to Him. In doing this Christ will prove His love to us as He takes our lives and transforms them into testaments to His faithfulness; showing the world that no one is insignificant to Him and drawing others into the hope which only comes from knowing Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Love That Protects

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects…” -1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV)

Every day there is a Christian somewhere in the world undergoing persecution or hardship for their stand in Christ. Living in countries where corruption and tyranny are rampant, they must endure unspeakable torment and everyday is a fight against injustice and oppression. Some of their cases are reported by the mainstream media, but countless others are never brought into the light. However, there are organizations which fight to make sure that the stories and voices of these persecuted Christians are not silenced by the iron fist of their governments. Out of their love for the truth of Christ, and for those who stand up for it, these organizations risk much to bring awareness to the plight of the persecuted church. They assure them through tangible action that they have a voice and are supported by those who are praying for them and care about defending their right to exist and follow Jesus.

By the definition Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 13:6-7, love is not some passive feeling that keeps silent when trouble is brewing. Rather it will get itself involved and take the side of truth. When we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and seek to know Him, He will give us a love for Him, which will then lead us to love His truth and to love those who speak His truth. What are we doing to defend our brothers and sisters when they encounter opposition for their stand in Christ? Do we remain silent, content with preserving our own reputation in the eyes of the crowd? Or will we join our voices with those who will do anything to speak life into the lives of others. Granted, it can be a hard decision at times for our instinctive human reaction is to lean toward the former. But when we lean on Christ and allow Him to strengthen us, He will give us the confidence to speak the truth in love so that we may be an encouragement and blessing not only to those who are thirsty to hear, but to those who are working towards the same goal as well.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.