A Line in the Sand

or – Our Three Denials

Line in the Sand

Often, we Christians draw a line in sand around political issues we mistake for biblical issues. Abortion, homosexuality, gun control, Muslims, Israel. Certainly we can find isolated Bible verses that support our position; we quote them often enough. I admit I have.

But I’m here to tell you I’m a red-letter kind of gal. And when I want Truth, I go back to those red letters in my Bible time and time again. And as I reread them and ask the Spirit for clarity to understand them, I continue to see, over and over, the three lines in the sand Jesus drew.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45, Luke 6:27)

As we continue to vilify all who are not like us, treat “them” like groups who need to be condemned, isolated, in some cases obliterated, we act in fear. But Jesus calls us to act in love. He calls us to pray for enemies, whoever we might consider to be a foe, whether a rival, assailant, detractor, terrorist or sinner. We are called to be more than our basest instincts chain us to be.

“I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me. They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’ ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do for me.” (Matthew 25:42-45)

Exactly how many starving immigrants do we have to deny from our warm, spacious homes? How many millions of refugees fleeing for their lives will continue to wander in deserts, in oceans with no opportunity for safety? How many hundreds of thousands of children will have to die before we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts from fear to love?

“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” (John 13:34-35)

How can we say we love Jesus if we turn our backs on His words? How we can we say we follow Him if we refuse to stand with Him? Peter denied Jesus three times, but that was before he knew what we know. Before the Holy Spirit took up residence in him. Before Jesus allowed him to declare his love three times face to face to repent of those denials.

We need to stop condemning, stop finger-pointing and extend the same loving, grace-filled invitation Jesus extended to Levi the tax collector. And break bread at the same table.

In the face of those lines in the sand, will we continue to deny Jesus three times over and over knowing what we know?

10 thoughts on “A Line in the Sand

  1. Susan, I agree with you to a point. We need to open our shores to those fleeing the ravages of war, a war in which they are caught in the middle. We must not let fear drive our decisions, but must show our love and compassion to those in need. When I was in London a few years ago I encountered many Syrian refugees who were seeking nothing but to raise their families in a safe environment.

    However, we must not take Jesus’ command about loving our neighbor open ended. In Luke 10 when he tells the lawyer that he is right about loving his neighbors, then proceeds to explain to him that the Samaritan is his real neighbor, it is a Samaritan who shows compassion on his enemy in need, not to one who is a threat. In Luke 22 Jesus instructs his Apostles to sell their cloak to buy a dagger just before he is arrested. This is not a weapon that could be used to attach the guards about to arrest Jesus, but a knife that could be used to defend themselves against those wishing to do them harm. In the same way, we must take adequate precautions to assure that we do not allow the wolf in with the lamb.

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  2. I like your take on this Sister Susan! I admit that even at my age I STILL struggle with the need to protect my family and demonstrating love. It IS the proverbial fight of flesh against spirit! It will always be with us that inner battle “until Him who is perfect shall come.” I do believe that we as Christians should be the shining light, but we are not to be doormats either. Jesus was a very strong AND authoritative person. He was a lamb on a mission, but that mission gave Him the strength of resolve. Our mission is not to Redeem the world but to LOVE the world because He first loved us.
    I am reminded that Jesus did tell the disciples that when they go out, if they are not accepted in a city to shake the dust off their feet and depart and it would be better for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that city, but the Word also says that vengeance is mine says the Lord.
    I am thankful and blessedly assured that the Holy Spirit has “paved” the way before us as Psalms shows many times. I am also assured that if a situation were to arise, the power of the Holy Spirit would also illuminate our hearts as to what course of action to take. This comes back to what all of us here at CFS is trying to teach, we have to have relationship with our Heavenly Father, through the Son, Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit and that relationship is and will be defined by unconditional love – unconditionally!!! Love you Sis, love your ministry very much!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Brother, and I think you said several things which are extremely important.

      Somehow, people still equate loving everyone with being weak or being a doormat. Not so!

      As you said, it is a human struggle to protect AND love. And we can do better. ” Our mission is not to Redeem the world but to LOVE the world because He first loved us.” YES, that is our mission. That is how we make disciples. Jesus already redeemed the world. Our mission is to carry forward His love, the Father’s love empowered by the Holy Spirit.

      Unless we allow (key word) the Holy Spirit to do his work in us – in our hearts and minds – we remain unable to embrace others with the unconditional love of God.

      It is our choice. What do we choose? To follow or to deny?

      Liked by 1 person

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