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Being true to Jesus—and ourselves

I was still in the midst of the years of caring for my sweet mom when a client asked me to write a piece about family caregiving.

The request was for a list of tips to help caregivers meet the challenges involved with caring for a loved one at home, and I was happy to oblige.

When I submitted the article, the first item on my list went something like this:

  1. Start the day with prayer…

Although I rarely received revision requests from that particular client, the request to change my wording was quite swift: “We’d like to change that to ‘meditation’ instead of prayer.”

While much of my work for clients is provided in a ghostwriting format, this particular piece was going to have my name and credentials on it—and was supposed to be based on my own caregiving experiences.

So, I had to politely decline their request.

Now, don’t get me wrong—I think meditation can be a helpful practice as long as the focus is on something that’s pleasing to God.

But it wasn’t meditation that got me through the challenges of caregiving, it was relying on Jesus and the incredible love my precious mom and I shared for each other—and portraying that differently wouldn’t have even been true.

I don’t know if my client ended up making the change and publishing the piece, but I told them if a reference to prayer was going to be removed, then so would my name.

That was many years ago, but in our current climate, it could have easily been yesterday.

Unprecedented times?

“Unprecedented.”

It’s a common term used to describe the current state of our society.

In which the landscape of our beloved country is being transformed with tornado-like speed.

And public opinion shifts on a dime like a flock of starlings zig-zagging across the sky.

In which it’s increasingly unpopular to be a patriot who respects our flag and sings our national anthem through a well of tears in recognition of the sacrifices necessary to be able to do so.

And voicing support for the brave men and women who—largely with great integrity—risk their lives every day to serve and protect our communities has somehow become not-the-thing-to-do.

In which those who follow Jesus are urged to water down the Gospel in order to make it more palatable to a broken world which needs Him so.

No surprise to God

While the troubling dynamics in our society are multiplying at a seemingly exponential rate, there’s nothing happening around us that is any surprise to God.

After all, Jesus described the inevitable collapse that would occur when the foundation of a life [or entity] is built upon the shifting sands of this world instead of the immovable rock of Him (Matthew 7:24-27).

And He warned that hard times would be ahead—when being His follower would be both an unpopular and even dangerous choice (John 15: 18-27; 16: 1-4).

But never within such dire talk did Jesus recommend that we should play it safe by being untrue to Him.

Instead, He said we need to be willing to pick up our crosses daily and follow Him regardless of the cost of doing so (Matthew 16:24-25).

The dynamics of a cause

The list of causes in our society seems to grow daily.

Sometimes that’s a good thing—and sometimes not so much.

After all, while the intent of a cause may be positive, the broader organizational agendas attached may not always be what they seem.

That’s why it’s important to understand the dynamics behind a cause of any type and put them to the test of Scripture to assess whether they align with what God calls us to.

Because Jesus was very clear about God’s priorities for us:

  1. First, to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and mind.
  2. And then to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:29-31).

When the world around us urges a diversion from those two priorities—or an “acceptable” box from which we must practice them—it’s a pretty clear sign that whatever agenda is at play isn’t of God.

And when the world around us urges us to a generic spirituality that minimizes the need for salvation and what Jesus has done for us—we know without question that our Lord is not in it.

As believers, we know and experience the only true Light that can cut through the darkness.

The only true Answer to what this world needs.

That’s why Jesus calls us to be true to Him no matter what—and to unreservedly share His love and hope as we do.

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