|Volume 3||August 1, 2004||Issue 12|
As various controversial issues have surfaced throughout history, there have always been opposing sides — pro and con. There is however, at the same time, a side of every argument or discussion that is not as apparent as the pro or the con side and goes unnoticed most of the time. It goes unnoticed because it doesn't command much attention. It's actually, not a side at all. It is instead, the complete lack of a side — neither pro nor con. It's the "I really don't care" side. This side is, on many issues, often the majority of people. Unfortunately, it's the majority of people — even on important issues that may affect the lives of many individuals. It's the side that is neither hot nor cold, neither approves nor disapproves, doesn't really care enough to even attempt to understand an issue, much less take a stand one way or the other. It's the side that mostly "just doesn't want to get involved" enough to argue a pro or a con about anything. It's the "I'm not going to take a stand side because if I do, somebody won't like me" side.
Addressing the "I really don't care" or the "neither hot nor cold" position that some individuals take concerning important issues reminds us of something the Scriptures have to say about a church that took a similar approach.
"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." (Revelations 3:14-17 NIV)
These verses identify a Church that was neither hot nor cold as worthy of spitting out of the mouth of God!
The previous issue of Diligence was somewhat of a political nature since it addressed some of the issues of our times that have the potential to (or already do) affect those of us who are Christians in America today. The research that was required for us to complete that article made it extremely apparent to us just how very important the neutral (or undecided) individuals are in determining the outcome of not only important issues but also of National Elections.
We can't help but relate this kind of a "neither hot nor cold" attitude to the current political climate in America. For example: As the discussions were beginning in the Senate on the issue of same sex marriage, there were 36 who supported the Federal Marriage Amendment, 46 who opposed it and 18 Senators who remained uncommitted as to a point of view on that issue. Since a vote against the FMA was a vote for homosexual marriage and a vote for the FMA was a vote for traditional marriage, it's easy to see that the "uncommitted" group would decide the outcome of a key piece of legislation that would change the institution of marriage possibly forever. It seems that it should be obvious to any God fearing person that there is but one kind of marriage, but in light of the need to accept all points of view as legitimate, it is now necessary, in the United States, to have a legal process determine what God has already made clear to those of us who place value on His Word. It should cause any thinking person to have great concern that all too often those who do not have enough conviction to take a stand can have such power — power enough to cause a whole Nation to "cancel out" or ignore God's way.
In a recent meeting with a friend, we were discussing the FMA vote as well as issues prevalent in the Church today, and he made a comment that was very disturbing. It was a simple statement but one that if true, will have tremendous impact on not only the Church but on the direction of this Nation as well. He said, "Many people simply don't care."
What about you? Do you care? The fact is that we all care about something at some point. The question is: What do you care about?
Again — What do you care about?
Do we all get the point being made here? Perhaps you don't care to read any further because you might be like we were until a few years ago — when it started to become obvious to us that a lack of care and concern for current issues in the Church and in our Nation was a position of "neither hot nor cold." It was starting to become obvious that such a position was leading toward the loss of many God given values both in the Church and in our Nation. It began to become obvious that God expects more of His children than an "I really don't care" attitude when some of the issues that are presenting themselves are directly opposed to God and His revealed Word. To remain neutral when the Devil's forces are active and at work in the Church and the Nation is not what God tells us to do in the pages of His Word. When issues arise that, if allowed to be implemented will ignore, challenge and abase the very nature of God, it should motivate Christians to turn themselves into instruments in defense of God's sovereignty. Christians should be anxious to "put on the full armor of God so that (they) can take (their) stand against the devil's schemes." (Ephesians 6:10-20).
Being an instrument of God who defends and stands for His way in the Church and for Christian values in our Nation takes time, energy and even courage. The good thing is that when we do stand for the truth of His Word, God promises to be with us in the struggle.
"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." (John 14:15-21 NIV)
If you, like we did for far too long, are sitting by, not caring enough to engage in important matters that seriously effect not only our lives as Christians but the lives of all who live in this great Nation, let us encourage you to become engaged in taking a stand for good, Christian principles instead of basking in the comfort, peace and tranquility of non-involvement.
As Christians, we must take the time to determine what we believe about various current issues and why we believe it. As we do so, plenty of opportunities to stand for those beliefs will occur. It will not always be easy to stand up for the Christian view, but it is something that God requires of each of us. There is story after story in the Scriptures of individuals who exercised the courage, took the step forward and risked whatever happened to them as they took a stand to follow God or to do something to help their fellow man. A few that immediately come to mind are Esther (Esther 4 and 5); Deborah (Judges 4:8-9); Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3 and 6); Peter and John (Acts 4:1-20); Paul (II Cor. 11:24-33); Stephen (Acts 7:59-60) — well, we could go on and on, but you get the point.
So how do we start, where do we begin if we want to get more involved and more interested in what is going on all around us — in the Church and in our Nation? What can we do to change the course if we feel that Christian values are no longer as important as they should be? Here are some suggestions that you might find useful.
Let's look a bit closer at just a couple of those Bible stories we mentioned earlier that are especially interesting as they relate to our courage to be instruments in defense of God's sovereignty. The first story is Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Even as they faced death in the fiery furnace, there was no doubt in their minds as to their determination to serve God. Whether or not He chose to save them from the fiery furnace, mattered not. They would serve God anyway.
"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Daniel 3:17-18 NIV)
When Mordecai asked Esther to go before the king without being summoned, it was a probable death sentence. So Esther sent word back to Mordecai and said "you are asking me to die." Mordecai replied, "who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther's response was, "if I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:8-16) What courage! We should pray to have that same level of commitment and courage to stand for what is right. After all, who is to say that God has not selected you dear Christian, "for such a time as this?" Could it be possible that God is counting on you like the Jews counted on Esther?