By Evan Johnson
It would be great if every single decision we made was based on how black and white the world is. However, we live in the world of gray. In fact, probably about ninety-nine percent of our decisions everyday are not based on the difference between righteousness and wickedness but on personal benefit and expediency versus inconvenience. When a true moral dilemma arises, it is exactly that. Moral dilemmas aren't dilemmas because they are easy. Controversies aren't controversial because they are easy to solve. However, Psalm 112 offers us a few encouragements to live in righteousness, notably v. 5-10:
"For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever."
Stand your ground. You have the righteousness of Christ. It's hard for Christians to stand our ground on moral issues that require our vigilance. This goes for issues both political and interpersonal. Since we live in a democracy where the opinion of the people matter, we have the opportunity to speak out for our convictions. While it's important to remember to respect the other side during moral dilemmas, we do need to stand firm. On interpersonal issues, standing our ground isn't a passive issue so much as it is an active one. Take that active role of being a voice for the broken and the helpless.
"He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD."
Learn to live with the bad. Seeds don't grow on the mountaintops. They grow in the valleys. When we are in the dark valleys, that's where we do our growing. We don't grow on the mountaintops. Use the times of great trial to grow. Just like the way a furnace purifies gold, struggles develop us as individuals. Use life's exploitations of your weaknesses to turn them into strengths.
"His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries."
Do not fear. With the amount of times God says to his people, "fear not," you would think we would understand it by now. We don't, though. God has given us a spirit of love and power, not of fear (2 Tim. 1:7). There is power within you that walked on water, that healed the sick, that gave life to corpses, and yet Jesus said that his disciples would do even greater things than these. The only thing standing in the way is fear.
"He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor."
Give. Give of your time. Give of your money. Give of yourself. Give of your life. Give of your love. Give yourself to others because you have much to offer. Those who have been given much should give much. Since everyone has been given much by being created intricately and on purpose with God, then they have much of themselves to give. The world needs more givers and less takers, so be a giver. Remember that you won't lose yourself in the process of giving yourself. That may sound hokey, but that's a common fear (see above for instructions on fear). In reality, the more we give, the more we become who we are supposed to be in Christ. Jesus cements himself in us in our outward expression of generosity to the world.
"The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!"
Negativity happens. Even if you give of yourself fearlessly and boldly, there will be some who want you to stay home. Understand that it's only perfect love that drives out fear (1 John 4:18). Being afraid of their judgment won't drive their judgment out. Abandoning all fear and embracing hope in the fullness of its wonder is the only thing that can draw them to the hope that you have in Christ. In the meantime, live boldly. Live in the valley. Live fearlessly. Live generously.
You can do it. I believe in you.
Have something to say? Probably.