Monday, September 26, 2011

Not Against Us

“Jesus said to him, ‘Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.’” Luke 9: 50

At the end of the American Civil War, many of the Union generals and politicians wanted Lincoln to punish the South very severely and have them pay, both financially and otherwise, for the war that ravaged the nation. But Lincoln was not of that mindset. He was concerned that if he proceeded with justice, that there would never be peace between the North and South. Perhaps to this day there would be hostilities of some kind in our land if not for the foresight of this noble man; so instead of continuing to exact a toll of consequence on the South and its people after the war was over, he instead reached out to the South and had the federal government begin a plan to assist the South in rebuilding. His agenda and goal was clear when he said, “Does not he who becomes my friend cease to be my enemy?”

I think we can learn a great deal about how to live as Christians in the post-modern world from the example of Abraham Lincoln and his response to the South at the end of the war. It is easy (or easier) to look at others not like “us” and consider them outsiders, imposters or cheats. Maybe we look down upon certain kinds of people as stupid, uncultured or backwards. Perhaps we are suspicious of others different in some way from us. But don’t you think there are enough enemies and threats in the world without us creating them?

Certainly Satan is the enemy, not another person. And any person who is doing Satan’s work is to be pitied, not scorned. For surely that person is being used with or without their permission. Did Jesus or the Apostles hate Judas for betraying Jesus? No. The point is that Satan is going to throw things at us our entire lives, both big and small and the best way to counteract his darts is with prayer, humility and love. We have to realize and recognize that God can use ANYONE and He has used anyone. Who WE think He should (or could) use is not relevant. In fact, more often than not, God chooses to use those that we might least expect for the greatest accomplishments.

How often have we prevented someone from becoming what God was calling them to be? How often have we prevented someone from living a life of greatness? How often have we prevented someone from achieving success? All because we held to a prejudice or judgment against that person. God never holds anyone back, but we sure do, don’t we? Perhaps this day we can seek to empower and encourage, to lift up and to advance others, thus created friends, brothers and sisters, where the potential for enemies once stood.

Dear Jesus, help me to see others as You see them and to always seek to win them over by love. Do not allow my prejudices to ever hinder someone from living the life of greatness You have called them to. Amen.

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