Wednesday, April 30, 2014

You Can't Change Anything From Inside the Limo

Things change.
They do. Always. I can't do anything about that.
I don't always like it, though. Like when kids grow up and move away. Like when parents or friends or spouses die. Heck, I don't even like it when a favorite restaurant changes their menu or skirt lengths go short again.
But sometimes...sometimes I just know things HAVE to change. And, even worse, that I'm the one who's supposed to help change them.

I can't even imagine how Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela felt. Yikes. They changed BIG things. My convicted changes aren't that big--not even close. But they're big to me. And, like those famous men, I have to figure out how to implement them. Whether it's school reform, or property taxes, or how my church runs their Sunday school, change sometimes calls me to work, and I am going to need a plan.

My first big experience with this came in business. I worked for a company top-heavy in wealth and privilege. The men and women who worked in our factory worked hard--really hard--and got none of the perks I saw handed out liberally to managers and executives--bonuses, both cash and non-cash. It wasn't right, I thought from my entry level office desk. If I ever got the chance to change that...well, I would.

Eventually, I got the chance.

When I got promoted to Vice President, I had big plans. I would shine a new light into the executive offices. I would make the changes I'd always seen needed making. But then, on my next business trip, the company paid for a limo to pick me up at 5AM and take me to the airport. Instead of sending it away and driving myself, I settled deep into the leather seats and napped. And a few months later, when I realized that the bonus I got that year would pay for my younger son's college education, I didn't cash the check and distribute it to those hard working men and women on the shop floor like I'd planned to do. Instead, I deposited into our savings account.

Were these things evil? Not really. But they serve to demonstrate something I learned the hard way then and in the long years that followed. Even after I'd stopped joining the excess and started fighting it, the big boys didn't care that I didn't want to play with them. It didn't matter to them at all, as long as I didn't interfere with their fun. And I didn't interfere, but not because I didn't want to. I didn't stop them from their greed because I didn't have the clout to do it. They couldn't care less what I thought or did. To them, my example was not eye opening--it was, maybe, faintly amusing. Finally, I did the only thing I could decently do. I gave up and got out.

This is what I learned: real change does not generally come from the inside.  Not unless the changer is also in charge. Kings can exert change. Sometimes very disciplined presidents and CEO's can. But not the rest of us. If we want to change something, we have to step out of it first. I saw this in business, but I also saw it in the school where I later taught and in the church we attended. There, too, we tried to enact change from the inside and found that it couldn't be done.

God knows this, too.
Example: Right after Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem to waving palm branches and cries of 'Hosanna', what did He do? He marched right over to the temple and chased out the money changers for the second time.
It is written--My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves!--Matthew 21:13
And what happened?
The scribes and the chief priests heard it and sought out how they might destroy him.--Mark 11:18

Jesus didn't become a temple honcho first. He came in almost incognito--a young guy from a small town, but with wisdom and a mission He thoroughly understood. He could see clearly from the outside, whether from heaven or from Nazareth or from the back of a donkey, the kind of corruption so rarely visible from inside.

Obviously, I am prejudiced by my own experience. The hierarchy surrounding my own situations chewed me up and spit me out. Just like Jesus. Well, almost.

And that's my takeaway from all this. The people Christ criticized destroyed Him, or tried to. When they were finished with him, He was certainly very dead. But the same as He did, I rose up from each of my experiences remade, better than I'd begun. And amazingly, in the process, some of the things that needed changing did change. Not directly from what I did, but they did change, and some are still changing.

Just like Jesus, I left each of these situations an outcast, but not untouched, unchanged. And I learned to trust that God will use my actions in His own way. I also now know not to trust reformers with a stake in the status quo, but only those who have nothing to lose by changing it.
They have the vision. They follow the right example.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Discipline: Punishment or Consequences?

I love the story of the centurion in Matthew 8. Jesus has been healing as He walked along His way--those with leprosy, with demons, a paralytic, and in Capernaum, a centurion approached Him. Now, centurions were fierce dudes--not only soldiers, but commanders in the most proficient, and most deadly, army on earth. I have no doubt that the Hebrews' most common contact with these soldiers was to be ordered by them to do something--to get out of their way or to pay them respect or to carry something for them. But not this time.

This centurion's servant was dying. He was paralyzed and suffering and, whether the soldier fretted because he was losing his investment or whether he had genuine affection for the man, he nevertheless asked Jesus for a favor, the only recorded incident of a Roman soldier doing so. And, knowing what would happen next, Jesus says that He will go to the soldier's home to heal his servant.

This is where it gets good.

The soldier replies,
Lord, I am not worthy that you come under my roof. Only say the word and my servant will be healed.--Mathew 6:8

Lord, I am not worthy, he said. 
And neither am I. Not worthy that Christ forgave me. Not worthy that Christ healed me. Certainly not worthy that Christ lives in me.
I know I deserve to die. Now. A long time ago, in fact. And it hasn't happened.
I am stuck here. And I am not worthy.
I am not worthy of life, the life that God gave me, the life that belongs exclusively to Him.

So now what?

Now, like the centurion, I have to understand my position.
Yes, I deserve to die. I deserve to be cut off from God forever. So what is God going to do about it?
He will discipline me. 
Yes, He will. One way or another, I will know the result of what I have done, and that can happen in one of two ways. I will either experience the consequences of what I have done, or I will be punished.

They are not the same thing, you know. Consequences and punishment. They are different.
It's like this:
If my child starts a fight with little Joey at school, I am going to have to do something about it. He would know consequences when I march him back to school the next day, have him face Joey on the same playground in front of the same kids who watched him fight yesterday, and let them see and hear him apologize and admit to Joey that what he did was wrong. But he would know punishment if I called Family Services and told them to come and get the little violent monster and take him away, that I didn't want him for a son anymore.

See the difference? Consequences teach and preserve the relationship, keeping the love intact, but punishment ends the relationship, withdrawing the love.

God does the same thing.

Like my love for Joey, we are given God's love unconditionally. I could kick Joey to the curb for his transgressions, and God could do the same thing to me. I've earned it, after all. But, just like Joey acknowledges my place as parent in his life so that I can administer consequences rather than punish him, God allows me to stay close to Him, even when I don't deserve it, as long as I love Him back. 

Yes, you are unworthy, God says to me.
And I say the same thing to my children. They did nothing to be born and do not deserve any of the love and care we lavish on them. But they get it. They are unworthy, too.
Yes, you are unworthy, God says. 
But I love you.
Get over it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I AM the Life

How can you tell that something is alive? Scientists measure life in a number of ways--it has to have organized cells, use energy and grow. It has to reproduce and adapt. These standards make life recognizable and quantifiable. By them, we can evaluate the things of this world as to whether they live or not. By them, we can say that a virus lives, but a stone does not.

But, once life is established, what then? By these standards, a bacteria or a strain of yeast is alive, but does it share the same measure of life as a flower, fish, a bird, a horse, or a man? On the face of it, the simple answer is 'no'. A lily, for instance, has fragrance and physical beauty that a strain of yeast does not. And a lion has size and ferocity and strength that a lily does not. A man, however, has intelligence and the capacity for spiritual connection that a lion does not. All life, then, does not example itself equally.

So what about the conditions for life? Once established, do they really define the living occupants of this world? It seems that life has established a hierarchy of itself. All life is not equal. It is not flat or static. Life is more than growth, than the multiplication and adaptation of cells. Yes, a bacteria is alive, but there is so much of life it cannot exhibit.

It's like life, once established, continually bursts its bounds into new territories of sight and taste and touch and emotional feel. Life, always simultaneously present in all its forms, tends to reach ever upward in escalating progression. From simple cells to the spreading universe, it constantly reminds us that whatever comprises the force of life goes beyond the physical limits that surround it. Life animates a cell, then an opening leaf, then breath, then flesh itself until it reaches, through human beings, beyond even those.

In the end, life itself points to its source. Life points to Spirit. Life itself makes us want to find God.

And that was exactly what God had in mind.

The animation of combined elements is still a mystery no science has unlocked. Able to copy it, science still has not been able to insert life into a pile of dead atoms and molecules.  But the phenomenon continues to surround us. Seeds burst open with a green shoot. A star appears where none was before. A human being grows from the union of two cells. Every moment, God gives and takes away life and we have no idea how He does it.

But we shouldn't wonder at that.
Life is not a mechanism or a chemical reaction or the wave of a celestial magic wand.
Life is God imparting Himself into creation.
God is Life.

After all, He said so:
I AM the Resurrection and the Life.--John 11:25

When God makes something alive, He puts Himself into it. We call it Spirit. When He withdraws that bit, that Spirit, the thing dies.
God is Life. Life is God.

That's the beauty of spring, of birth, of the creative act as a whole. It is our witness of and participation in God, in His Very Being. Gardening, painting, the bearing of children, the companionship of animals--all are parts of Life--all are parts of and experiences with God.

It is God saying, 'I not only made you. I am in you.'

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Where did they put Him?

Photo credit:
Sometimes, I can't find Jesus. 
Oh, He's out there all right. He might even be in here, in my heart.
But I can't feel Him. I can't see Him, and I can't hear Him..
Where did He go?
Like Mary Magdalene, I wonder where they put my Lord.
They have taken my Lord away and I don't know where they have put Him.--John 20:13

Go and find Him, my friends tell me.
He's right here. All the time.
Pray.  He'll come.
Ask and you shall receive.
Seek and you shall find.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.
It's not working.

Still, I remember. He was here just the other day.. I can still smell Him. We put Him in this tomb with our own hands.
I left Him in this place. I know I did. And He's gone. Just plain gone.
I am beyond sad. It's like every light in the world has gone out.
Tenacity does not bring Him. Trying harder does not bring Him.
I must be looking in the wrong place. 
Maybe I need to open my vision, to look in another place.
What was it that He said? Don't look for my dead body.
Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?--John 20:15-16
He is not here; He is risen, just as He said.--Matthew 28:6 

I'm alive! He tells me.
No, you're not. I saw You. You were dead. Dead. And I felt like I was, too.
I still do.
Desolate. Alone. Back to the same place all my former sins consigned me. The same lonely darkness I started in.
Everything was wonderful while You were here, but now...what happened to the sweet, bright hope You brought us? When I can't find You, I can't find the hope anymore, either.

Then, there it was...that smell. Nard. Can it be?
I look up and see an stranger. No. Not You. A gardener.
"Where have they laid Him?" I want to take hold and shake the man.
But he can't help.
I might as well go home. You're not here. You've gone. Forever.

"Mary..."--John 20:16

What? Where are You?
Do not touch me now...John 20:17

It's You. It is You. You've never gone, never.
It was me. I let you go. How could I ever have done that?
Never stop calling my name. I never want to lose you again. I don't need to touch You. I just need to trust You.
You're alive...forever.
I will never leave you nor forsake you.--Deuteronomy 31:6
Of course.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Way of Sacrifice

It's almost impossible to approach Easter without remembering that this is a season of sacrifice. And sacrifice is almost always harder than we think it will be. Our fasts leave us hungrier. Our good deeds leave us more tired. Our almsgiving digs deeper into our pockets than we expected. Sacrifice, we find, hurts.

But the degree of pain that a sacrifice inflicts is not a good measure of its efficacy. Our sacrifice can hurt plenty, but still have little worth in the eyes of God. 

I desire mercy, not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6), God tells us. In other words, sacrifice for its own sake or sacrifice with any other object or person in mind than God Himself is, in the end, futile, a chasing after wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

Our sacrifice cannot have any other object than to please God. Period.

That's what Jesus did.
I come to do the will of my Father.--John 6:38
It is a near-misnomer to say that Jesus came to save us. 
He did save us, but that was not His main aim. His aim was to obey His Father. His Father wanted us saved, so Jesus saved us. But, had His father wanted Him to do something else, He would have done the other thing.
Jesus was more obedient than He was sympathetic. And we are to follow His example.
If we don't, our sacrifices become dependent on their results.

Think about it. We naturally want our sacrifices to bear fruit. We want our children to respond to us when we do something special for them. We want the money we donate to be well spent. We want the unbeliever we befriended to come to follow Christ. We want the person we took in to amend their life.
But often, they don't. And we feel drained, betrayed, taken advantage of.
That's the clue.
If, when we have done something for someone and they have not responded in the way we hope for, making us angry or disappointed or discouraged, we have done it for the wrong reason.
It's true.

Remember Jesus. We often say that Jesus would have died for the sake of saving just one soul. That's true. but it's also true that He would have died for the salvation of no souls at all.
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.--Romans 5:8
He died equally for those who repent and those who do not. He died for us all. And whether one or a thousand or a million souls or none come to Him as a result, He was successful in what He set out to do.He did His Father's will and it was enough.

When our Lord healed one sick person and not another, He was responding to what His Father asked of Him. When He raised some from the dead and not others, He did the same. When the rich young ruler asked how to be saved, He let the man walk away. He showed Himself to the Samaritan woman, but did not chase after her.
Christ did not consider the feelings of those He loved above those of His Father. He called Peter 'Satan' when Peter opposed Him. He rebuked the apostles for retaliation at Gethsemane. No one, not even those He loved, prevented His obedience. That way, He always stayed in a state of grace. That's how He never sinned.

People often get  between us and our God. They don't mean to. And we, I'm convinced, don't mean to put them there. After all, God made them, just like He made us. Loving them is a privilege and one of the wonderful parts of this life.

But we can't confuse loving people with loving God. They are not the same thing. 
Everybody's problem will not be ours to solve. We are not to bind up all wounds. We are to sacrifice ourselves to Him and only to Him. He owns us, no one else. We cannot elevate anyone's need above God's.

Sometimes, God does send us as Samaritans to bind up the wounds of someone on the Jericho road, but not always. Sometimes, that man is for someone else or for God Himself. That's why Jesus tells so emphatically to seek God. We have got to learn the difference, or we will add burdens to our lives we were never meant to have.

Any cross we pick up in this life has to be a cross God has given us. 
The cross anyone else gives us will be too heavy to carry.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Son of Man

Jesus Christ. Son of God. Son of Man.
The Bible tells us that He is both these things and simply by the exalted nature of them, these statements carry a lot of weight. I want to understand them, and understand well.
The idea that Jesus is the Son of God seems the easier of the two. After all, the Father Himself declares a number of times that Jesus is His Beloved Son. And I know what a son is. I have two of them.  So, if God the Father has a Son, their relationship and shared common nature make sense. 

Son of Man, not so much. If Christ is the Son of God, how could He be the son of men as well? And why? And yet, in the Bible, He declares that He is. Son of Man is Jesus' name for Himself.
What do men say that I, Son of Man, am?--Matthew 16:13

Well, it turns out that I'm not the only one who wanted to understand this better. Iraneus, the bishop of Lyons from 177-200 AD, had quite a bit to say about it.*

First, he observed, Jesus passed through every stage of human life. As Adam was made from untilled virgin earth never knowing rain, so did Christ begin His human life in the womb of a virgin. That was the beginning. Afterwards, He grew through common years like any man--preborn, infant, juvenile, adult, and even corpse--so that no man can say he has been left behind in his peculiar state. Christ became fellow of us all. He did not live outside human frailty at any time in his earthly life. Instead, He sanctified all stages and states of life by sharing them.
Christ, as Son of Man, was like me, no matter who I am.

Second, by the very act of taking on flesh, by participating in incarnation, Christ reunited man to God. The fact of His humanity made Him mediator between God and Man. 
I think that this is kind of like forgiveness--it happens in stages. The first stage is that in which we forgive an unrepentant sinner to free our own spirit from bitterness and hatred, but in which the complete relationship is not yet restored. So did God come down to unrepentant, clueless man and present Himself, ready and waiting.  The second stage, in which our relationship with the sinner is restored through repentance, Christ lived out in His own suffering and death. That freed all penitents to walk through the now-torn veil directly back to the Father.
Christ, as Son of Man, led the way for all men.

Third, Christ overcame Satan as only a man could have done. From the very beginning of His ministry, He exposed Satan's rebellion when He said, 
It is written: Worship the Lord thy God and Him only shall you serve.--Luke 4:8
So man, through the Son of Man, nullifies the power of Satan that Adam admitted in Eden. By His own obedience and submission, Christ put Satan in his place.
Later, He goes even further by subjecting Himself to disgrace and physical suffering. Had He not done so, God would have asked men to endure the scourge and turning the other cheek, something He Himself had not endured, effectively elevating the servant above the master. This, He could not do.
And then, when He became the first man to die and rise again, He showed Himself to be the Author of Life, who goes before us all to show the way.
Christ as Son of Man shows me what He created man to be.

In the end, if Christ is not Son of Man, I have no way to understand either the nature of God nor the nature of Man. Only through Him can I understand what I am created to become. Only through His humanity do I understand my own. 

*Iraneus, Against Heresies, III

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

'Believe' is a Verb

It all sounds so simple.
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved...--Acts 16:31
All I have to do is to believe, to have faith in Christ and His saving work on the cross. I have to do nothing, bring nothing of myself to the party. I'm in.

Oh, but then, there's this:
Faith without works is dead.--James 2:26
Did I misunderstand? Maybe not.
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.--Philippians 2:12
No, I didn't misunderstand. I need faith. I need to believe, and I need to do something about it. I need to work my faith out.

Is there anything else? Well, it turns out there is.
...this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God--1 Peter 3:21
and this--
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved...--Mark 16:16

So, I am to believe, and work, and be baptized.
Anything else?

I need to endure.
He who endures to the end will be saved.--Matthew 24:13
Whoever endures to the end will be saved--Matthew 10:22

Believe. Work. Be Baptized. Endure.
Well, which one is it?

Why does it have to be just one?
Why is the instruction to be baptized more important that the others? Or the requirement to believe? Can't they all go together? Don't they have to? And more importantly, why do we beat each other up about this? Is it really that important for us to be right so that we can make everyone else wrong?

You see, I think that the  Bible is very deep. It's full of rich meaning and we could spend a lifetime unpeeling its layers of revelation, but it's also very simple. God never stutters. The simple answer is not to figure out which of these requirements for salvation apply, but to take them at face value, all of them, the plain way that God says them.

'Believe' is a verb, not just a mental exercise. Believing is not diminished by doing something about our belief.

Imagine a tightrope walker about to cross Niagra Falls. He asks the crowd, "Do you believe I can make it?" "We believe!" they answer and so he sets out. An hour later, he reaches the other side. Then he asks them, "Do you believe I can cross blindfolded?" "We believe!" they answer again. And again, he crosses successfully. The third time he asks the crowd, "Do you believe I can cross with a man on my back?" Again they answer, "We believe!" That's when he asks for a volunteer. The one not willing to go, of course, is the one who does not believe.
Belief and action go together. One is not better than the other. They all exist together. They have to. 

Grammar. Semantics. We spend way too much time, as Christians, differentiating between ourselves, pointing fingers, so sure that we are right and the folks across the street are wrong. Christ died for us all. The least we can do is to show Him that we were worth it.

Belief lives not only in our brain or our emotions. It has arms and legs. It moves and testifies. It not only changes us. It helps change the world.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

'Remember' is a Verb

I forget stuff all the time--where I put my glasses, what I'm supposed to get at the store, the name of that great deli downtown. Remembering, for me, is an effort sometimes and I write down more than ever before just so it doesn't get lost, so I don't commit some embarrassing faux pas.

God, however, does not forget. Not in the same sense that I do, anyway. He doesn't remember the way I do, either.

For me, remembering is a mental exercise, something I do in my head. For God, however, remembering is an action verb. God doesn't have a brain, after all. He's a spiritual being and doesn't He's one thing. He can't forget, so He doesn't have to remember.

But the Bible says He does.
I will remember my covenant...--Genesis 9:15

So, when God promises to remember, what exactly does He mean?
Let's see--
When God remembered Noah in Genesis 8:1, He sent a great wind to dry off the earth.
When God remembered Abraham in Genesis 19:29, He rescued Lot from Sodom.
When God remembered Rachel in Genesis 30:22, He opened her womb.
When God remembered the Israelites in Exodus 6:5-6, He brought them out of Egypt.

What, then, is remembering to God?
It's action.
When God remembers, He doesn't just slap His forehead saying, "Oh-that's where I left the Hebrews." When He remembers, He is acting. In every one of these examples, He is enacting rescue.
To God, remembering = doing something.

And the reverse is also true.
When God stops remembering, He does not forget in the same way we do. It's not only His memory that's affected. To God, not remembering means not acting.
And, for us, God's forgetting is good.
I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.--Isaiah 43:25

He remembers your sins no more.
This forgetting does not only describe an act of memory. It is God declining to act.

This is the Good News of Jesus and the cross.
Because of what Christ did on Calvary, God forgets. He will no longer mete out the punishment we earned for our sin. He no longer remembers. He chooses not to act.

Remembering is acting.
Forgetting is declining to act.

That's how God does it.
We can do it that way, too.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gentle as a Hawk

Years ago, we had a friend, Luke,  who trained hawks and he sometimes brought his favorite over to the empty field beside our house to exercise and train him. I never forgot the way they looked. The bird would perch on the leather gauntlet Luke wore on his arm, lean over to nuzzle into Luke's neck, and stare at us. Just stare. With those beady eyes, looking down that hooked beak. And he kept staring, looking like he was ready to tear us apart the same way he'd just torn apart a mouse or some other dainty we'd watch him catch.

But the bird loved Luke. He obeyed him and delicately took treats from his hands. He looked like he wanted to tear my head off, but at the very same time he showered affection on his trainer. He always seemed to me a study in contradictions, but now that I think of it, maybe not. Maybe he was simply an illustration.

The fact is that I am sometimes very much disturbed by the military imagery and examples in the Bible. I don't like them and don't want to study them. But they're there, and I can't ignore them.

God tells us that we are to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:13), and that we are to take sides.
Whoever is not with me is against me.--Matthew 12:30
Our faith brings us into conflict:
If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.--John 15:18
It makes us choose:
Choose today whom you will serve-Joshua 24:15
It makes us find one way and one way only, leaving the rest behind.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a word behind you saying, "This is the way. Walk in it."--Isaiah 30:21

The Bible unveils so much battle, so much warring between good and evil. It just leaves me wanting a time of peace, but doesn't promise it any time soon.
They give assurance of peace when there is no peace.--Jeremiah 8:11

How is it possible, then, to wear the unfading beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit? (1Peter 3:4) How am I to learn to be calm and tender when I am also to be arming myself for war? 

And then I remember Luke's hawk.
How he loved and nuzzled his owner.
I remember its eyes after Luke removed the hood that covered its head while they traveled--how it looked at me with cold challenge, sinister and dangerous.
He scared me, not because he intentionally wanted to, but because he could do nothing else. He was always armed for battle and it showed. His threat was always part of him. Even if he did nothing but sit on Luke's arm, wings folded back, talons tense on the gauntlet.

The hawk did not inspire gentleness or mercy. Instead, he inspired caution and warning. I didn't want to get anywhere near him.

But Luke did. Luke knew what the hawk would do, when he would do it, and to whom. He knew that the hawk, with all it's power to hurt, even to kill, could also sit quietly by his side, content to wait with him. To Luke, the hawk was indeed quiet and gentle.

When I think of a gentle bird, I think most readily of a dove--its soft, grey song, nearly a moan, and its soft round profile. A dove has almost no hard edges and it harms nothing. She is quiet. She is calm. She is gentle.
Not the hawk. Even while the hawk sits silent, it carries a mute threat.

So, who is gentler--the dove that cannot hurt, or the hawk that can but chooses to refrain? And which kind of gentleness does the Bible tell us to wear?

Me, I'd prefer to be like the dove--harmless and full of grace. But I don't think I'm given that option.

I am supposed to be a warrior, skilled in destruction, single minded in defense of the Truth. I am to arm myself for battle and be ready to attack when my master gives me direction. I am not allowed pacific helplessness. I am not allowed to let others fight a battle for which God instructs me to prepare and, when necessary, to fight.

God made doves, but He did not make us doves. Doves do not arm themselves, but I must.
I am told to be humble, but also not to faint when tested.
I am told to be charitible, but also to reject whoever rejects God.
I am told to be kind, forgiving, and meek, but to stand for the Lord.

I am told to be a hawk.
Quiet until the time for action comes.
Controlled and focused until I am released.
Peaceful until the day of battle arrives.

Put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and,when you have done everything, to stand.--Ephesians 6:13