[forthright] But I'm Entitled to It! / Love Personified

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 15:26:17 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: REALITY CHECK

But I'm Entitled to It!"
by Stan Mitchell

   "If some people got all their rights, they
   would begin to complain about being
   deprived of their wrongs."
                             --Oliver Herford

Last week a 20-year-old man broke into 85-year-old
Grace Newton's home in southern California. He hit
her over the head with a baseball bat, then began
to ransack her apartment. She regained
consciousness before he had finished, found a gun
in her sewing drawer, and shot him in the
shoulder.

He is suing her for damages.

We live in a day of entitlements. We expect
certain things from government, our employers, and
our church. If any of these groups fails to meet
their obligations, we demand our "rights." Let me
be clear. It's wonderful to live in a land where
we enjoy so many freedoms -- freedom of expression,
freedom of association, and especially freedom of
religion. These are precious rights.

But it seems that some people want to have their
wrongs, too. When my right infringes on the well
being of others, isn't that wrong? When children
suffer from our indulgences "second hand," is that
our "right" or "wrong"? When an unborn human being
is done away with because its existence would be a
crimp on our lifestyles, is that our "right" or
our "wrong"? Church members will often blame their
dropping out of church on the church – the elders,
or the preacher did (or didn't) do this or that.
When we adopt a "two rights make a wrong" type
reasoning for our failure to serve God faithfully.
Is that our "right" or our "wrong"? When Gospel
preachers fail to proclaim God's demand for
change, or his desire for doctrinal integrity in a
mistaken notion that this is "loving," is that his
"right" or his "wrong"?

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil;
who put darkness for light and light for darkness;
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter"
(Isaiah 5:20)

It's the Lord's intention, one day, to right all
the wrongs. He will be less concerned with our
rights than with what is right. Are we ready for
that day?

----
Join the conversation. Read this article online
and share your thoughts with us. Click here:
http://www.forthright.net/reality_check/but_im_entitled_to_it.html


COLUMN: HANDS-ON FAITH

Love Personified
by Barry Newton

Frankly real love is not only inconvenient; it is
relentlessly demanding. Just ask any couple caring
for their newborn baby.

A newly minted dad might very well remind us that
love's sacrificial demands began long before
birth. Concern for his unborn child's health has
driven many a husband out of his comfortable bed
into a stark night fueled by his understanding
that a pregnant woman needs to satisfy her
cravings for whatever she wants, whenever she
might want it.

Speaking of that nice warm bed, a sleep-deprived
mother may chime in how the cries of her newborn
arouse her to get up multiple times throughout the
night to attend to her baby's needs. In love a
husband may choose to sacrifice some of his nights
to provide relief for his exhausted wife. To
genuinely care deeply for another is certainly
inconvenient.

Love soars above merely pursuing what feels good.
The shadow of self-absorption fails to encroach
upon the threshold of love. To pursue another's
well-being can push people to willingly encounter
their fears, forgo their own desires, experience
pain or even suffer unjustly. Such genuine love is
indeed powerful.

Brushing aside the social fashionableness of
wearing golden cross jewelry in order that we
might gaze upon roughly hewn wood, we find
ourselves standing before the sobering and naked
reality of a horrific death-penalty device. Upon
one such cross the personification of love
confronts us face to face.

While the cross exemplifies the epitome of
unfairness to Jesus, Jesus was no victim. Love for
God and the world drove him to choose the pain,
humiliation, fatigue, suffering, and death played
out upon that cross. Without that cross,
humanity's fate had been sealed. Justice demanded
the guilty be condemned.

To release us from the demands of justice, Jesus
allowed himself to be hung upon a tree bringing
himself under God's curse. To successfully offer
such a sacrifice would require one to be blameless
otherwise the suffering and death would be
deserved. And so innocent life willingly bore the
crushing brunt of guilt thus enabling God to
remain just while extending the gift of life to a
condemned world.

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ
laid down his life for us" (1 John 3:16 NIV).

To love is inconvenient. To love someone can lead
a person through valleys which are unfair. To give
the gift of love is a small reflection of Christ
crucified.

----
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and share your thoughts with us. Click here:
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