Friday, September 07, 2007

Being For Something vs. Being Against Something

Note: I wrote this email many months ago, put it in my drafts, and for some reason decided to send it today.
"When a man stands 'for' something, he stands 'against' an unspeakable number of other things without mentioning one of them. When a man stands 'against' some one thing, he stands 'against' that one thing more than he stands 'for' anything." - Yours Truly
I have a question for you (me). I want you (me) to think about this very seriously. Lay down all pride, all pretense, all needs to appear to be a certain thing to anyone at all, and all needs to be understood by anyone at all. Then take out a pencil (you (I) always want to be able to erase when answering questions like this in writing), and answer this:
In your heart, are you defined by what you are 'for' or by what you are 'against'?
People who are defined by what they are 'for' can easily answer (and gravitate towards) questions like:
What are you for?
What are you promoting?
What do you wish for others?
What would you love the world to have?
Who embodies what you stand for and are trying to become?
What are you doing to move forward?
Who are your intimate allies in your life and why?
What is your mission in life?
What is your vision for accomplishing it?
What was your last step?
What is your next step?
What factors will show you when to take it?
How do I connect my life to what you are about and why should I?
People who are defined by what they are 'against' easily answer (and gravitate towards) questions like:
What are you against?
What "promotings" do you resent?
Who do you dislike?
Why do you dislike them?
What would you love to see eradicated from the world?
Who embodies what you know to be wrong?
Who 'agrees with you' and who 'agrees with them/it'?
How is your mission superior to another person's mission?
What was the last thing done wrong?
Where do think the things being done wrong will naturally lead?
I'm not saying that the second list of questions aren't good questions. I'm saying they can become a persons primary outlet for making a difference in the world, and that they are extremely inferior to the first set. 
I regularly am told of people who perceive that what I am 'for' might be dangerous and even harmful to others (either in this life or the next). If this is true, then I am dangerous and harmful to others, because I think without hesitation that what I am 'for' is unstoppably good news for every single human being. I think it is the best possible life available to anyone and everyone, and I am using every bit of my energy in promoting, advancing, and sharing it with as many people as possible and who are willing.
What am I to do with people who challenge the good-ness of what I am for? In keeping with what I am for, humility and conviction both demand that I will 1) honor their fears by examining my heart to see if there is anything impure motivating what I offer, 2) embrace anything truthful in what they say, even if how or why they said it was impurely or poorly done, 3) let the truth influence and transform me in my ideas, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and then 4) honor their (and my) free-will and self-responsibility and continue to offer the life of Christ undaunted. you primarily find yourself 'for' something or 'against' something?


Stacy said...

Brian, I just wanted to thank you, with all of my heart, for so willingly sharing your heart in your blogs. You will never know what an encouragement and blessing you have been in my life. I pray for you, your family, and your congregation regularly. Thank you for being such a shining light for Christ. With Sincerity and Much Gratitude, Stacy

Keith Brenton said...

One of the things I am most "for" is unity in the body of Christ.

But I am often told that I am being divisive by not being "against" some things that others believe.

preacherman said...

I am for Christ.
I am for Unity.
I am for Change of heart in worship.
I am for saving the lost.
Great post brother.
God bless you and hope you have a great week serving him.

Royce Ogle said...

Thanks for another great post. After reading it and looking at the questions I realize that I am mostly "for" something of great value and those things I am "against" are things that impede items in the "for" catagory. At least that is my assessment of me; I am parital to me.

Unity happens only when we, (all of us who want unity),are centered on Christ, who He is, and His mission. In my view there is no unity outside those boundries.

Grace to you,
Royce Ogle

Anonymous said...

I am "for" seeking Jesus.
I most want others (and myself) to receive the complete healing that only Jesus gives.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

i am just in the business of following.

Anonymous said...

Please pray for unity in our church. I attend a small Church of Christ in Idabel,OK which had been a beacon in the darkness of legalism of the area.

Now our leaders have made some decisions behind closed doors to get rid of our progressive preacher and the wonderful christian relationship that we all enjoyed is torn apart.