Loving First

Loving First

By: Danny Wallace

If anything in scripture has been grossly misrepresented, and then stringently taught as “truth,” it is the concept of “Taking A Stand For Jesus.”

Most Christians view, and thereby, “alter” the concept to become far more about us, and much less about Jesus. We see standing up for Jesus as announcing what “we” are – instructing others as to what “we” don’t participate in – and reprimanding, and distancing ourselves from those who don’t adhere to what “we” are all about. By sheer definition, this has nothing to do with standing up for Jesus. It has everything to do with glorifying self. 

A famous preacher from the early 1900’s once said that any person who found himself, or herself around someone using profanity and thus, failed to announce that they were a Christian and would not tolerate such language was essentially shaming the name of Jesus Christ. He went on to say that it meant such a person was ashamed of the Gospel, and not taking a proper “stand for Jesus.” 

The last time I checked, the Good News of the Gospel has nothing to do with whether or not a person uses profanity. In fact, it has nothing to do with our performance, and everything to do with God’s great sacrifice. The Gospel is the completed sacrifice of Jesus for all people, no matter how righteous or current they may be in their religious performance. In fact, I don’t think a person announcing their Christianity is worth the breath it takes to announce it. Words are simply words without arms to hold, and tongues that bless. In fact, most of the time I equate it with a woman feeling the need to “announce” that she is a natural blonde. The minute she makes the announcement we know that blonde is anything “but” her natural hair color.

The power of Christianity stands on this one principle. We love Jesus because He FIRST loved us. Unless I’ve missed something, that principle is the foundational thread of standing up for Jesus. “They will know that we are Christians by our love,” not by what we refuse to tolerate, or by our religious announcement. In fact, the depth of our long-suffering while continuing steadfast in unconditional love is living evidence of our association with Jesus, the One who perfected the concept.

Standing up for Jesus doesn’t mean that we are louder, or more over-bearing than the voice we so adamantly refuse to condone. It doesn’t mean we live right – believe right – or whether we live or die based on our answer to the Christianity question from a deranged assassin. Peter denied Jesus three times and the entire church is built on that rock. 

Standing up for Jesus means that we find our life, and give life to others in the art of “Loving First.”