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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Standing Alone

I remember watching westerns on television as a child. More than one gave the story of a town sheriff who would stand alone against a lynch-mob. His prisoner was often innocent. That wasn't the point, however. The sheriff stood alone so this man could get a fair trial. The sheriff stood for what was right even if no one else stood with him.

Those television programs were made during a time when people understood that there was a right and wrong. These principles stood no matter who denied or supported them. They did not have a face. They were not negated because of a whim or even the perceived need of the individual. 

These stories often told the other side. A son had been murdered. All the evidence pointed to the man in the jail. The townsfolk wanted to alleviate the pain of the murdered boy's mother. They wanted instant retribution. They wanted to give this mother relief from her pain. They rallied around her and forgot what was right and wrong.

Yet, the sheriff, who may have wanted to give this mother relief as well, stood firm in protecting his prisoner. He understood that the law was made to benefit everyone. He understood that he had to do what the law said even when he didn't want to. He had to do so when he would rather have stood with the mob.

There are few people who will really stand for what is right when everyone else seeks something else. Most people become silent. They don't join in with those who are doing evil. They just don't say or do anything. They walk by while someone is beaten. They lock their doors; hoping no one will ask them to take a stand.

This gives a very blurred vision of right and wrong. Many people believe that the majority makes something right. Their understanding of right and wrong is determined by the number of people who say it is right or wrong. They believe they can be right as long as they are in the majority. 

I'm actually surprised that more movies of "instant justice" are not made. The mob takes the jailed man and hangs him. They congratulate themselves afterwards as they meet at the grieving mother's house for fried chicken and potato salad. All is right because they are all right together.

However, all will never be all right until we understand that there is a right. It will not be all right until we commit to that which is right. It will not be all right until we stand alone for what is right. 

You have to stand alone for what is right before you can stand together.

Joshua 24:15 (NIV)
15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

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