I came across a meme a couple days ago that has really stuck with me:
Quite the dichotomy.
Have you ever felt this statement play out in your life? If not, or if you’re not sure, here’s some examples of how I have have witnessed this in the lives of those around me:
1. When being yourself means sacrificially living for others:
Some years ago, I met a missionary family with a heart for the people of Papa New Guinea. In fact, this husband and wife team sold their house and most of their possessions, packed up their 4 kids, and moved smack dab in the middle of a tribe that was known for their cannibalistic tendencies. Many people said this to them: “That’s great BUT isn’t that too dangerous for your kids? Don’t you want to raise them in a safer place?”
2. When being yourself means running towards a disaster instead of away from it:
Ebola. Remember that health scare a few months ago? There were 24 cases between the United States and Europe – 5 of these people died. Whew, we Westerners dodged a bullet on that one, right? Well, that’s not what my friends Jessica and Jason Neal think. When they think of the word Ebola they see the influx of orphaned children that have come to Teamwork Africa’s Liberian facilities. Children whose parents were among the 23,200 Ebola cases confirmed in Africa since March. A staggering 9,300 of our African brothers and sisters are dead due to Ebola. Jessica and Jason recently returned from Liberia. They couldn’t wait run towards the disaster and help however they could. They grieved the travel ban that didn’t allow them to run there sooner. And while they grieved, they received Facebook messages from people questioning whether they really should be adopting their son, Emmanuel, from Liberia (pictured above with Mama Jessica) because “what if he infects your OWN children with this horrible disease.”
3. When being yourself means asking the questions: “What breaks my heart?”
This statement is, in essence, true. In this country we do have the “right” to freedom of speech as well as the “right” to freedom of religion. However, this attitude breaks my heart. And, I believe it breaks the heart of Jesus, too. So, I speak out against it….even when it is super unpopular to do so. Here’s the skinny: I see a big difference in deciding how to live based on what my “American right” is vs. living my life based on the way Jesus lived while he walked this earth. Jesus lived his life based on LOVE, not based on His RIGHTS. He gave His right as *ahem* GOD when He came down to this earth and lived among us and for us. His disciple, John shares with us the evidence he saw with His own 2 eyes that Jesus put love first: “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16, NLT) Say what? I’m not only supposed to give up my RIGHTS but now I’m supposed to give up my LIFE? For OTHER PEOPLE?
Yes, we are. Yes, you are. Yes, I am.