A Line in the Sand

or – Our Three Denials

Line in the Sand

Often, we Christians draw a line in sand around political issues we mistake for biblical issues. Abortion, homosexuality, gun control, Muslims, Israel. Certainly we can find isolated Bible verses that support our position; we quote them often enough. I admit I have.

But I’m here to tell you I’m a red-letter kind of gal. And when I want Truth, I go back to those red letters in my Bible time and time again. And as I reread them and ask the Spirit for clarity to understand them, I continue to see, over and over, the three lines in the sand Jesus drew.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45, Luke 6:27)

As we continue to vilify all who are not like us, treat “them” like groups who need to be condemned, isolated, in some cases obliterated, we act in fear. But Jesus calls us to act in love. He calls us to pray for enemies, whoever we might consider to be a foe, whether a rival, assailant, detractor, terrorist or sinner. We are called to be more than our basest instincts chain us to be.

“I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me. They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’ ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do for me.” (Matthew 25:42-45)

Exactly how many starving immigrants do we have to deny from our warm, spacious homes? How many millions of refugees fleeing for their lives will continue to wander in deserts, in oceans with no opportunity for safety? How many hundreds of thousands of children have to die before we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts and minds from fear to love?

“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” (John 13:34-35)

How can we say we love Jesus if we turn our backs on His words? How we can we say we follow Him if we refuse to stand with Him? Peter denied Jesus three times, but that was before he knew what we know. Before the Holy Spirit took up residence in him. Before Jesus allowed him to declare his love three times face to face to repent of those denials.

We need to stop condemning, stop finger-pointing and extend the same loving, grace-filled invitation Jesus extended to Levi the tax collector. And break bread at the same table.

In the face of those lines in the sand, will we continue to deny Jesus three times over and over knowing what we know?

26 comments

  1. […] written many times before about our discipleship of love. About discarding the chains that bind us to legalism , judgment and division. Yet somehow, […]

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  2. […] written many times before about our discipleship of love. About discarding the chains that bind us to legalism , judgment and division. Yet somehow, […]

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  3. […] written many times before about our discipleship of love.  About discarding the chains that bind us to legalism , judgment and division. Yet […]

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  4. Since you have visited my blog, you’re aware I’m not a believer. Having said that, I do appreciate your outlook on Christianity. It is truly sad that so many are so quick to condemn instead of offering love and compassion … as you so clearly point out is what your Leader urges his followers to do.

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    1. Nan, after viewing the vid you posted, I can honestly say I chose to follow; my parents were not Christian, and I was a skeptic for many years. As a teacher used to research, I did lots of pro and con and came to my own conclusions. I guess I’m lucky I didn’t have years of indoctrination to slough off.

      Having said that, I cling tightly to the words and intent of Jesus; he changed the paradigm of religion. He rebelled at religious rules and dogma. As a flower child of the ’60’s, his entire perspective makes sense to me.

      And I agree with you – it is sad so many so-called Christians are so quick to condemn. We’re not all like that.

      Thanks for coming over to visit. I appreciate it.

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  5. I hear you and totally know I cannot take forgiveness but not extend it. My dilemma sometimes is that the Word also makes it clear that we are to share the Gospel, and those who receive it should repent. Is it not our duty to share this process too? I know I needed it..

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    1. Yes, when they are ready. And only God knows someone’s readiness. He will send them with questions.

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  6. This made me cry! Thank you dear Susan…and many blessings ♡

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    1. Thank you, Lorrie. May we all be struck with tears of love and hope upon reading His words. Bless you, sweet sister.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The True Light! · ·

    I agree with your thoughts in general Susan. We are to love everyone and judge no one. But the line is becoming blurred here a bit. People mistake our love of who they are for acceptance of what they do. That is not the Lord’s intent.

    He loves all people but not all they do. Even when we who submit ourselves to Godly faith and love, He is happy with our commitment but not with all we do.

    So to sum up what I’m saying—love everyone, judge no one, try to instruct or model Jesus in our lives for those who will see and or listen. That I believe is God’s good will for us in Christ Jesus… Steve

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    1. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Agree with you, Steve. I think the difference is, for me it’s not a “we” and “they” issue. It’s an individual issue.

      God didn’t create us on an assembly line. Since He created us as individuals and knows us in the womb before we were ever born, I believe He speaks to our hearts and minds as individuals, not as groups of people.

      Because I am human, I can never know the mind of God completely, and I never want to stand in the way of His work. I also never want to claim your sin is worse than my sin, or your sin is one that will prevent you from walking into the arms of Jesus. His arms are open to all in His timing, and His grace is offered to whomever He pleases.

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      1. The True Light! · ·

        I like what you say Susan, and I agree with you, with one addition. I do believe the Lord deals with us on an individual basis, but all whom He saves follow one same gospel. So if we want salvation it comes to us by His terms which is the same for everyone…

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      2. and yet…He grants mercy to whom He wants and bestows compassion on whom He decides. Always His will.

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      3. The True Light! · ·

        So true!

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  8. Reblogged this on forging4th and commented:
    Because this is way important. Susan opens up Jesus words for us to understand we can not play party politics and keep saying we believe in Christ. We have to begin to look at folks through the lens of Christ and not party poltic.

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    1. Thank you, and amen.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I am not entirely sure why you tagged this “homosexuality”.

    My life is restricted at the moment. It is not entirely because I am transsexual, but that never helps. So I was reading of the noted intellectual Germaine Greer expressing, yet again, her contempt for my kind, and thinking of how when I transitioned I was aware of such contempt and even thought it justified, and yet transition was all I could do. So I changed my name, legally, and stopped presenting male.

    We need to see humanity across all those divides, not just because Jesus said so but because if we cannot, we cannot accept our own humanity completely, and we cause intense suffering to others. The Samaritan was the hated foreigner and the Neighbour.

    Hello. My name is Abigail. How do you do?

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    1. Abigail, interesting question; I almost tagged LGBTQ instead of homosexuality.

      Because I follow Jesus, I used His words, yet you picked up my point (well, His): “if we cannot, we cannot accept our own humanity completely, and we cause intense suffering to others.”

      To say it in God’s terms, if we cannot, we cannot accept His utterly overwhelming and unconditional love and grace – for ourselves and for others. Because He created us all. Me, you, those we love, those whom we call our neighbors, and those whom we may currently call our enemies.

      So glad to meet to, and thank you for stopping by and adding your thoughtful comment.
      BTW, I also post at https://churchsetfree.wordpress.com
      I think you may find a loving community there.

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  10. Blessings to you

    Susan if you are going to write a post from your heart, then I am going to take the time to comment on it. I agree with what you are saying about these refugees. I just believe that folks cannot trust our government anymore to be honest with us about what they are doing or not doing. I do try not to get to tied up in humanitarian issues and political issues. Although all of these issues are really issues of the heart. My heart will always be turned to charity. I however am always well informed as much as possible were the safety of my family and country is concerned. In the issue of illegal immigrants and fleeing refugees. There is a right way to come into this country. What we see today,I do not believe is the right way. I will continue to lift them up to the Lord and search my own heart for answers from God. Trusting the Lord always to answer. I believe 2 Chronicles 6-7 is a good study on issues we are facing today. Give it a peek if you are lead to,

    With all my love Tom

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    1. Tom, I agree with you about the government, and believe we are not told what they do. I also agree we must divide humanitarian issues from political issues.

      I will give 2 Chronicles 6 and 7 a read (did you mean both chapters?) and come back and comment further.

      Thank you as always for laying your heart on the table. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes both Susan.

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  11. I wrote about this very thing, this morning. Refugees are not the problem in the world. How can our politicians use their suffering for their own ambitions? And profess to be followers of Christ at the same time? Especially those who profess to be deeply religious.

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    1. Absolutely, Beth. No excuse. None. You can massage Scripture all you want, but if we continue to ignore the lines in the sand Jesus drew, we deny Him. We can play politics all we want, but we are fooling ourselves. We’re not fooling God. We act and speak from our hearts. From love or from fear. Bottom line.

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  12. Thanks for another great post

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    1. More and more on my heart these days.

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