Last night (August 6, 2015) was the first opportunity to see the latest field of presidential candidates in a debate. And in true political fashion, these candidates spent more time articulating what they stand AGAINST than explaining what they stand FOR. More and more I see people who are willing to speak out against things, whether it be human trafficking, abortion, religious persecution or violent behavior. And those are things that Christians SHOULD stand against.
But when we spend more time telling people what we oppose or the things we don’t like, we are presenting a negative image of ourselves. It reminds me of my teenage years in church. I would hear about what movies we shouldn’t watch, what books we shouldn’t read, and what clothes we shouldn’t wear. And, again, I am not saying that we shouldn’t stand against those things even today. It is relatively easy to stand against something. You see something you don’t like or don’t agree with and start vocalizing your opposition. And there is always something to stand against. It would seem that our culture thrives on opposition. But there is danger in just being against things. We can get to a point where we just don’t know what our foundations are. And Ephesians 4:13-14 comes to mind, saying we should strive for unity and fullness in Christ, “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness and deceitful schemes.” We shouldn’t be so quick to jump on the world’s bandwagon of condemnation.
Sometimes, I just want to know what a person actually stands for. Like the politicians I watched last night, I see people standing against things without knowing what they stand FOR. In the Christian life, those who only stand against things run the risk of alienating the very people we are called to serve in love. The Bible regularly tells us to stand for something. The Apostle Paul tells us to stand firm in the faith (1 Cor. 16:13) and to stand firm in Christ (2 Cor. 1:21). People should know that we stand for God and His Word, that we stand for the Gospel, the ultimate act of love found in Christ Jesus, and that we are committed to demonstrate that love to the world through humble service to those in need.