The fence line is ever present. It has been since my youth. Will I be on the inside or stand outside of its perimeter? What the fence line represents may look different, but it’s the same for us all. Are we in or are we out?
A false perception of what it means to be in; when we compromise our ethics, faith and hope just so we can belong with the crowd.
A truthful perception for what it means to be out; when we stand up for truth despite of its costs to ourselves, to our reputations, to our dignity.
Rev 18:4 (NLT) Then I heard another voice calling from heaven, “Come away from her, My people. Do not take part in her sins, or you will be punished with her.
The news details are muddy for where the truth lies. Exaggeration, deflection, religious opinion, politics always, and then there are people. If we stir them into a frenzy we can begin a public panic. Many people are barely making ends meet so when you introduce the possibility of economics causing even greater problems, one can only see the sign of the times. Uprising comes about for lesser causes.
A baser instinct begins to emerge. Where are the foundations within each of us for what we will deem “worth fighting for”? It’s no longer a question we can ignore. Lines are being drawn up whether or not we choose to lift our eyes up to look and see. More importantly, will we watch and pray?
Luke 21:36 “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
I found myself looking over the valley floor as I listened to my friends talking behind me. I was high enough in the hills to see checker patterns of various properties below. My view was intriguing but still blocked from the clarity of truth. A layer of dirt and smog tried to cover the beauty of promise. The winds of change would soon be clearing away all lies and again our eyes would be seeing real sunlight.
When Peter swore he’d go with Jesus both to prison and to death, in His great mercy, Jesus told Peter ahead of time how weak he’d be when faced with the truth of his fleshly bravado. Jesus shared with Peter how he’d deny Him three times that very night.
As history played out, Jesus was captured, taken before the religious leaders who sought His death. Peter followed but stayed hidden in the crowds. As foretold, Peter did indeed deny he knew Jesus. After the third time he spoke this denial, “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So Peter went out and wept bitterly” (Luk 22:61-62)
My idea of what love looks like gets tipped upside down when I know the rest of the story. Jesus looked at this man, disciple, and friend knowing He was going to be put to death for him and all of humanity. Jesus never exposed Peter to the accusing crowd. He only looked at him.
In his shame, Peter went about trying to live his life before Jesus had come, but the results were dismal. Again in His great mercy, Jesus came to Peter after His resurrection, with love and compassion, “restoring” Peter. For the remainder of his natural life, Peter declared he knew Jesus to all. He went to his death as a martyr assured of how much he was loved by Jesus and he himself would be resurrected.
When I think of what love looks like, my eyes are focused upon the eyes of Jesus looking at me. I don’t fool myself for a minute that I am any better than those who walked in the presence of Jesus. I know my great need for grace and the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood upon the cross to restore and redeem me.
Here I kneel down at your feet
In your love you allow me to cry
I am healed here at your knees