Monday, May 2, 2011

Middle of the Road

Friends in Faith:

I don’t like conflict. I am a peacemaker. I want to see good in everyone I meet. I have a hard time listening to someone who is talking “trash,” or to someone who is laying blame on another person instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. I don’t like the confrontation of having to tell someone that their choice is against God’s commandments.

I have a difficult time taking a “righteous” stance if it means I might have to offend or make an enemy of someone. I want everyone to be my friend. I don’t want to have to “suffer” someone’s ill thoughts that I was either judgmental or acting out of my own self fulfillment. I sometimes find it easier to walk the “middle of the road” than to be persecuted because I chose to reveal or speak God’s truth.

But God says that we will suffer because we have faith. Many of His chosen people, the saints, who have been raised to the glory of heaven, were martyrs; martyrs who died because they took a path that wasn’t “middle of the road.”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope … to an inheritance … to a salvation that is ready to be revealed … although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:3-9
If we are walking on the “wrong” side or with the “wrong” friends we are probably being told that we can do what we want and that we can make our own path. We may think that because God loves us no matter what we do, or how we choose, we are safe. Those on the “wrong” side are choosing to ignore the laws; they are driving down the wrong side of the road. It isn’t difficult to see that the accident waiting to happen will be deadly.

If we walk in the middle, we might feel safe or it might be the path of least resistance, but chances are we are still going to be hurt. But the middle is exactly what it says, we are in a place where we can choose either to be saved, or we can end up dead. When we are in the middle, there is usually an outstretched hand, a spouse or friend waiting to pull us to safety. God is putting that someone in our path to help us to make the right choice.

The middle of the road is more difficult to “see.” It may not be completely wrong, but it is just as dangerous, maybe more so, because we feel better, “safer,” when we are in the middle.

Eventually we must choose. God does love us no matter what, but He gives us the freedom to choose to follow Him. We must ask forgiveness, we must seek his mercy and we must have the commitment and discipline to try to do better.

What happens when I walk in the middle of the road in my faith journey? Will I become “road kill?” Can I survive?

When I am in the middle, I am no better than Thomas when he is doubting Christ or Peter when he is denying Christ. I must choose one side or the other, the right or the wrong. I must choose between heaven and hell. There is no middle path, no middle destination, when we are talking about our choice to follow God.

Dear God: Praise be Jesus’ choice to suffer and die for me so that I may have the opportunity to join You in heaven. Thank you for His resurrection which was given with the promise of eternal life if I choose His path, the right side of the road. Help me to choose His way even when the middle looks easier. Give me the strength to choose what is right and to accept my sufferings with the Spirit of courage you have granted me in faith. Amen.

Does it bother me that someone will speak about me unkindly? Yes. But if I am choosing the right side, if I have moved away from the middle, I know that God has promised me His protection. I may suffer, but in the end I will have achieved the ultimate in survival.

Blessings as you move away from the middle,


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