No one knows what we’re for, only what we’re against ….
I wanted to start this blog by stating that I felt compelled to write this particular post. After I looked up the definition of “compel” I decided to clarify. Compel: to force/use force, to drive; to overpower; AND/OR to have a powerful and irresistible effect or influence. My guess is that most every public writer feels some sort of compulsion to write what they write – and they possess a desire to have an effect or influence on their readers. If not, why not write in a diary stashed away in a drawer at home. When I post on FB or on my blog, I almost always think about the person on the other side … the one reading it. Most likely, I know them personally. Usually those who read my posts would not take personal offense at something I write because most likely we have very similar basic beliefs.
Sometimes, though, I write about something that is controversial even within my own little sphere of influence because I hope to offer a way of thinking to those who might ponder what I had to say simply because it’s … well, ME.
I’m about to take a break from my personal FB page. Again, this decision for me has been confirmed in many ways. As I’ve acknowledged before, I expend way too much mental and emotional energy on what people think (or at least how they comment and respond to others). In the last couple of days, I’ve noticed that again Christians are taking their opinions – or stands – to their own personal public. There’s no doubt that most of us have reasons for doing what we do and saying what we say. My continual angst remains the same as I scan through my Newsfeed. Why do so many Christians first post what they are against in order to state what they are for?
Personally, I am not FOR or AGAINST the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge itself. I see nothing biblically wrong with raising awareness about certain diseases that could possibly be cured if there was enough experimental funding. Obviously, though, some feel strongly about it – both ways. What’s interesting is who is and is not participating in it. What’s more interesting is why. (And usually the why is almost always more interesting). Recently celebrity Pamela Anderson gave her reasons for not taking part in the challenge: “In recent experiments funded by the ALS Association, mice had holes drilled into their skulls, were inflicted with crippling illnesses, and were forced to run on an inclined treadmill until they collapsed from exhaustion. Monkeys had chemicals injected into their brains and backs and were later killed and dissected.”
Since I think it best to let the quote stand on its own without commentary, I’m hoping you get my point. I understand if you can not participate in the challenge due to a personal conviction. But why say anything at all about NOT participating. If you need to explain privately to the person who challenged you why you aren’t taking part, that’s great. I’ve said this before, but when we take a public stand against something, we open the door for public arguing and bickering. And often it’s people claiming to follow Christ who argue the loudest. While there are certainly some truths we should stand for, there are usually very few debates worth starting just to stand against something.
The reality is this. We live in a broken society. A broken world, really. Within our society, there are lots of businesses, schools, and charitable organizations that are run by people of all sorts of beliefs and strong convictions. Most of them have beliefs vastly different from my own. At this point in my life, I have chosen to participate in some way or another (i.e. patronizing their business or giving to their organization) with many of these groups because I don’t have the time to investigate all the possible uses of the money they make/receive. I’ve concluded that most of them support things I would never support and use “my” money to do so.
While I recognize that I do not know all that the ALS Association funds, neither do I know everything that is being funded by other big money-making businesses like Target, Walmart, and McDonald’s. While I stand firmly on the side of life, I do not expect that everyone does so in the same way I do. Simply stated: I believe the bible teaches that all human life is valuable and that all life begins at conception. Those claiming no faith-based allegiance would not be pro-life for the same reasons I am. Being pro-life is a conviction that stirs in me a passion for mothers in crisis pregnancy and for kids in foster care.
So, I have to ask myself hard questions. If I’m truly FOR something, what am I doing to live out that conviction? The challenge I’m making to myself: Share with others what you are for. Speak boldly and unashamedly the gospel message which says to the world: Christ died for you. Because He did, you can live for Him and with Him forever.
That’s worth standing FOR. That’s worth living FOR.
Until the end.
(PS: Elyse Fitzpatrick’s blog post states it so well. Doing good things, like pouring a bucket of ice cold water on your head for a worthy cause, won’t bring you eternal life. Neither will giving a million dollars to what you’re most passionate about.
Jesus is the Way. The Truth. and the Life.