Real Love Wins

Four years or so ago I was finishing up my last day on a contracting assignment. My manager, a Muslim, walked me out to my car. This was my second time working with him and we had been through the wringer together. Often high-stress situations and aggressive deadlines bring out the worst in people, but it brought out the best in each of us and we developed a great relationship. He has said on multiple occasions that he considers me a brother rather than just a friend. As he walked me out to my car I could tell he was a bit nervous about something. He explained to me that many people have misconceptions about Islam and he gave me an Islam tract. I’m pretty sure he remembered a couple of late night talks when we had discussed God, terrorism, abortion, and other topics, so I was a little surprised he would try to convert me knowing that I was a Christian. Despite my surprise, I took it, thanked him, told him I appreciated it, shook his hand, and told him I hoped we got a chance to work together again in the future. He didn’t yell at me or call me an infidel. I didn’t feel the need to argue with him or give the tract back. I could recognize the fact that his gesture was because he cared about me as well as my spiritual well being. Because I saw that, it made it all the easier to respectfully listen rather than reject or argue his message.

To be clear, I am eternally gratefully to Jesus, by whom and through whom I have access to my Father in Heaven and eternal life. I am firmly rooted in my faith and therefore know that I will never convert to my friend’s religion or worldview. Yet I hold dear the fact that because he is firm in his convictions, he felt the need to share with me. It’s what people who care about others do. It’s called love. If a corner of my neighbors’ house is on fire and I know they are asleep, I’m going to bang on their windows to wake them. Yes, it might jolt them awake and they may take issue for a moment, but once the big picture is revealed, they will thank me for my efforts. This, to me, is what I love about America. We can be neighbors, even in the face of disagreement, when we share our beliefs out of a genuine concern for the well being of the other.

We no longer live in that America.

Unfortunately, in rapid pace, the radical activist America has hijacked the “real” America. I was recently encouraged to read about the gay and lesbian couples who contributed to the support fund for Memories Pizza, explaining that despite the fact that they don’t agree with the owner’s support of traditional marriage, they were fans of free speech and ashamed of those from their side who went as far as to threaten to burn the restaurant down. The former is the real America (their words, not mine) and the latter is the radical fringe that wants to shut down free speech. From what I’ve heard and read, that radical fringe does not represent the views of the vast majority of those who live a homosexual lifestyle just like the views of the Westboro Baptist Church folks are not shared by the vast majority of Christians. The media and social engineers/experimenters want to pit us against each other in all out war. They want to tell us that a Christian and a Muslim can’t be friends. They want to tell us how we’re supposed to believe and behave because apparently they think we’re unable to figure things out on our own. Those forces are at work to label us and divide us as Americans because they know that divided we will fall as a republic. However, as a united country, we will stand. Maybe it’s time for some real love. Real love never fails. Yelling at people in anger like the WBC does not reflect real love. Taking away the inalienable right to free speech out of spite does not reflect real love either. Real love isn’t afraid to voice concern to the other but does so with respect. Real love recognizes that concern and appreciates it, even when there is disagreement. #RealLoveWins

Freedom Is Not Maintenance-Free

It’s another Memorial Day. What does that mean to you? A long-awaited day off from work? Sales at the mall? Flipping meat on the grill? I wonder how that feels to the families of our fallen.

Having my new blog up and running affords me the chance to lend my voice to this precious holiday and the brave men and women it represents. However, this year, I want to approach it from an eternal standpoint.

I will ask you to consider Heaven’s reward system for a moment. The Bible says that each Christian will be rewarded according to what he has done (2 Corinthians 5:10). In other words, those who have spent their lives focused on temporary, earthly pursuits will have empty pockets in Heaven. Those who have built God’s kingdom by winning souls and discipling others will have significant treasure in Heaven because they focused on that which has eternal value. However, think for a moment about what all goes into “the Lord’s work.”

A little over a year ago I was listening to the “The Dana Show” (Dana Loesch) on 97.1 FM in St. Louis. I heard her interview Ted Nugent, and at the end of the interview, Ted said, “We’re doing the Lord’s work.” People might have heard that and chuckled. After all, he’s not exactly a clean-cut, GQ-styled televangelist, right? Let’s look at this from another angle. Suppose Billy Graham was looking to do his very first nationally televised crusade but just did not have the funds to buy the spots. A wealthy businessman steps up and contributes the entire amount needed. The crusade is successful and hundreds of thousands of people accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Whose heavenly account increased as a result of that event? Would it not be both Billy Graham as well as the businessman? The work of the Lord does not just include the preaching but also those who provide/protect the platform on which the preaching takes place.

Friends, we have a platform of freedom in this country. We have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to bears arms, and so on. The “product” of freedom was extremely expensive. I will use this opportunity to remind you that freedom is not a maintenance-free product. Pay attention, friends. Evil forces in our ranks have chipped away at the platform of freedom. It started in small pieces, and when they saw that only a few were noticing, they became emboldened and are now knocking off large chunks. It is far less difficult to retain freedom than it is to regain it once it has been lost. Are we even attempting to retain it? Maybe we as a society just aren’t aware of how precious it is. Heaven lauds those who gave their lives to purchase freedom. What will Heaven say of those who barely lift a finger to keep it?

America hangs in the balance. What will you allow on your watch? Do you care? Do you have your head buried in the sand, thinking it cannot happen here? How often do you thank God not only for your freedom but also for those who gave their lives to purchase it for you? The value we place on something is displayed by the gratitude we have for it. What you don’t value, you won’t protect, and what you won’t protect will be taken from you.

Let’s go back to Heaven’s reward system for a moment. The Bible says that love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10). The Bible also says that greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13). If people receive the top reward in Heaven due to being martyred for preaching the gospel, would not those who gave their lives to provide/protect the platform on which the gospel is preached also be deserving of top reward?

The sales can wait. They happen all the time. The meat will taste the same if you grill it tomorrow instead of today. Get down on your knees and thank God for those who were brave enough to purchase the freedom you partake of everyday. Ask Him what you can do to further the cause of freedom. I suggest that you think about those who you know (or don’t know) who have lost loved ones to that cause. Try to visit them. Call them. Email them. It’s great to post on social media, but nothing can replace the lost art of direct conversation. That’s where the emotional side is revealed. That’s where the full gravity of what was done for you becomes apparent. A thank you posted on social media is nice. A thank you personally delivered will mean the world to those who have lost loved ones and wonder if anyone besides them really cares.

Carry the torch, my friends. Carry the torch.