I’ve heard a lot of arguments lately. Not just regular arguments, but so-called holy arguments where people on both sides claim to be speaking in goodness and truth. I’ve involved myself in these arguments, if only in my head.
We have the argument about whether or not we should receive Syrian refugees. One side claims that Jesus himself was a refugee. Don’t we believe we would have fed and housed him, a stranger not in his homeland, had we the opportunity?
Others believe that refugees would be difficult to properly vet providing an opportunity for terrorists to slip in our country under the guise of a refugee. So some say help them in a safe place, some place other than here. Then there are the people who would welcome refugees who have been properly vetted and will be monitored.
I don’t find myself fitting neatly into the A, B or C category.
That’s not really what I want to talk about. I don’t want to talk about Starbucks either or the importance of having the freedom to say Merry Christmas although I find each of these topics worthy of healthy discussion.
Last night I read a news post about the Facebook group Little White Crosses. A couple of ladies, with I’m sure a lot of help, have constructed hundreds of two foot by three foot crosses to go in yards. They’ve been made in response to the FFRF’s attempt to have the monument cross at Riverside Park in Port Neches removed. These yard crosses are available at no cost to the public (who want them).
As you can guess, there were dissenters. -many of them. Underneath the Facebook post were negative comments suggesting that these crosses were built, and are being placed in yards, with the purpose of intimidating unbelievers in our community.
We have a cross in front of our house. Our placement of the cross in our yard signifies our faith in Christ and our gratitude for his love poured out for us. I can imagine that most placings of these crosses are similar in purpose.
Honestly, I feel we can thank those who stand to have this cross removed for this stirring. My personal stand for the cross is not in retribution. The possible removal of the cross is a reminder to hold dear that which is sacred.
But it was a different common critique on this post that I found most troubling. Many who took offense to these yard crosses were perplexed as to why anyone would spend their time constructing crosses when there are homeless people with needs and other charitable ways to serve. These commenters suggested that real Christians would help winterize houses and feed the hungry. If it wouldn’t get me agitated I’d go back and count how many times I read comments of that nature, some from believers.
My initial reaction was to make a mental list of things my family has personally done for the needy. I added to it, the long list of charities and mission-minded activities our church and churches in our community are involved in. The number is many.
I wanted to out-good those commenters, or at least prove to them that we do serve.
I recently heard one lady put it best. “People have gotten to the point of trying to out-Christian each other.”
That’s when I was reminded that no person wins in a holy war. Our serving and loving is not about us, remember? And God’s not glorified in it either.
There’s too much bickering amongst us. Add in unprofitable discussions with unbelievers and we’re super distracted. Acts chapter fourteen talks about unbelievers embittering brothers and sister in Christ. We need to be careful of such traps.
Believers are using statements like
I’m pretty sure Jesus would…
You must not be a Christian if…
You call yourself a Christian?…
Our focus becomes the good we’re doing and the evil we abstain from
Our focus becomes the thing we perceive as good that our neighbor isn’t doing. Our focus becomes the evil thing we pick out that our neighbor practices.
The only one who is truly good becomes out of focus.
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6
I wore one of my favorite bracelets this morning. It’s a stamped leather cuff. I won it on Facebook by commenting my wrist size and sharing a post written by the lady that makes these.
I didn’t do much to deserve it.
It says forgiven.
It speaks to cross makers and cross takers. It calls out to the mockers of the cross.
It speaks of those who feed the homeless and those who fill shoeboxes for the needy overseas.
It speaks of those who would welcome refugees and those who, in caution, fear the danger in such a quest.
It speaks for all those who receive God’s gift of salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection.
Its the only thing worthy of boasting.
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14
We’re all needy. Our need for forgiveness puts us in the same camp. Let’s not fight a holy war here together. These little white crosses, this war on terror, this season we’re approaching ought to remind us where our focus needs to be. God’s love is vast. His instruction is wise. We need more of his spirit.
That’s when our invitation for others to join our camp will matter.
In the meantime, give, love, forgive as God leads you.