I’ve been thinking a lot about standing this week.
No, not that kind of standing.
The standing that takes a lot more energy.
A lot more strength.
A lot more emotional toll.
As we all watch the events unfolding in New York and in Ferguson, it’s hard to stand by and watch.
It’s also hard to stand on one side or the other because the truth can be very elusive for those who don’t have all of the facts.
It’s also hard to stand because of those who want to spin things to their side.
But I’ve learned some things about standing this week……
I’ve learned that standing up against wrong is hard. Very hard.
I’ve learned that standing up against a specific wrong is hard. And it takes a lot of time and energy to determine the truth. Sometimes the truth is in a gray area and that makes it even harder.
I’ve learned that standing up against the bigger wrongs is hard, but is often easier to see.
Standing up in the Ferguson case is hard – because it’s hard to know what happened and who is right and who is wrong.
But standing up for the rights of black men, black men like my son is becoming is hard – but not because its hard to know right and wrong. I think we can all agree, at least I hope we can, that there are still substantial times in this country where black men (in particular) get treated differently than white people do.
And we need to stand up and say, “This is wrong. Whether you are black or white or any other race, you should be treated the same.”
Ferguson and New York showed that we have a lot farther to go on that than we thought we did.
I’ve also thought a lot about standing with children this week. Kids are cute. Well, most of them are. And it’s easy to say, I stand for the rights of children. I want every child to grow up safe and in a loving family.
Who would actually say that they wouldn’t want that?
But when you get to the specifics, that’s when standing with children gets hard.
When you have to talk about evil things happening to children, that’s hard. That’s sick to your stomach, can’t sleep at night hard.
But when you know something is wrong, you have to take a stand on it. Either you stand up and say, “Something is wrong.”
Or you are essentially saying, “Me and my comfort zone trump what I feel is wrong in this situation.”
But the truth can be elusive – unless you are there.
Unless you look into the eyes of the children and hear them tell their story.
Unless you see the marks on a child’s backside from being………
So how do you stand with that? A couple of thoughts I’ve had this week:
- You support the people who are on the front lines. Those who know the truth about the wrongs need to know that they have others backing them up.
- You encourage them to push for the right. Encourage them to keep on fighting. Encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and fight the wrongs – for their sake and for the sake of other kids who might be at risk.
- You extend grace. Grace to those who are on the front lines. Grace to those who might seem to be on the “wrong side.”
- You stand with knowledge. Don’t ignore the facts, don’t take the pleasant road, take the road that’s filled with truth – even if that road is bumpy, full of potholes and has alligators waiting in the ditches. If you know something is wrong, you can’t plead ignorance.
- God is a God of justice not “just” a God of love. There are and must be consequences to evil. And quite often, I believe that God uses His people to stand up to the evil, to expose the evil, to share what they know about the evil so that God’s justice can prevail – not only in the next life but also in the here and now. That doesn’t mean vigilante justice. That means speaking out against wrongs, even when it involves exposing very uncomfortable things.
I’ve also thought a lot about standing with and standing for family this week. Every day, every week, we are faced with choices. We are pulled by the world, we are pulled by the devil, we are pulled by greed.
And we need to stand up for our families. We need to stand up and say, “This is difficult, but I know this is what we need.” “While you might not understand, I have to do what is best for my family.”
That standing can involve breaking with traditions.
That standing can involve reevaluating career priorities.
That standing can involve reevaluating worship and church priorities (not IF, but when where and how).
And that is not easy either.
So what have I learned about standing this week?
- Standing is hard – in almost every situation, it’s hard to stand. But it’s easy to sit back and go with the flow.
- Standing is crucial to keeping your balance. If you don’t look at what’s important to you and what matters to you, you will lose your place in life. You’ll lose your balance.
- Standing is important – for the sake of your family, especially if someone in your family has been hurt. For the sake of those outside of your family who have been hurt. For the sake of those who are being hurt or might be hurt by faults in “the system.”
- Standing is important for healing. To heal the wrongs, to heal the injuries, to heal the wounded souls, you have to stand up and push back. Standing is important for healing – for you and for others.
It’s been hard to keep standing this week. It’s been hard to watch many things that are going on – both those in the news and those in much more private situations.
But at the end of the week, I remain convinced that the only way we’re going to make this world a better place is if we take a stand for what we know is right.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”