Can’t boo “them” & cheer “us” at the same time
On September 22 I was back at Jordan-Hare Stadium where I have spent many a Saturday supporting the football team of the university where my husband and both my daughters attended and graduated. Trust me: a lot passes through my mind in that setting, and has done so since 1985, the first year I began attending Auburn games with Jeff!
This time, I noticed some booing had begun amongst the crowd. Sure enough, the team from the University of Arkansas, led by their travel-sized entourage of cheerleaders, had entered the field from the “visitor” tunnel.
About the time I opened my mouth to join in the good-natured booing that is customary at an athletic competition, great cheering broke out all around me instead. Sure enough, the Auburn team with all of its bells and whistles and back handsprings and flags and trumpets and drums and pom poms and smoke and mirrors had erupted from the home-side tunnel! So, following the crowd, I abruptly stopped saying “Boooooo” and started shouting “Wheeeeee!” “Whooooo!” and “Yayyyy!”
And that’s when it hit me: It’s impossible, in the same breath, to boo “them” and to cheer “us.” It’s that simple. What time we’ve spent running down the people with whom we disagree and whose lifestyles we consider detrimental to the human condition is time we haven’t spent cheering truth and right and Christ.
This is not a feel-good message about love resolving all problems. Love is a guiding principle, but it does not change hard facts about the necessity of teaching truth and of standing up for one’s convictions in a manner that speaks integrity and calm and respect. If love had solved everything about sin in a sweet and happy way, Jesus would not have died on a cross. He had to balance joys and sorrows the same way we have to do, every day. To have faith, and to cast my cares upon Him because He cares for me*, is the only way I know to cope with that dichotomy. *1 Peter 5:7
In my recently-completed second novel, someone makes the observation that people were not meant to try to bear unbearable burdens. That is God’s job. Our job is to learn, and to prayerfully apply in our dealings with everything and everyone, what Scripture teaches (about burdens, and about many other concepts and tasks).
A good passage to review on this topic is Psalm 119:1-7 because it lays groundwork for our attitude toward all Scripture and toward all issues of spiritual seriousness and growth:
1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. 2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. 3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. 4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. 5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! 6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. 7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
So, let’s remember that we have only one real “opponent,” the enemy who wishes us to be confused into thinking that all sorts of people are enemies, rather than people – just like us – whom Christ died to redeem. Boo evil, not evildoers. (Because we are them.) Cheer Christ and truth, not “superiority.”