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In sports, there are a lot of people who are avid fans as long as the team they support is winning. But somehow a string of losing seasons seems to weed out those who are true fans of the team from those who are merely fans of winning. True fans of a team love and support the team whether they win or lose. Unfortunately, this attitude of loving only when circumstances are favorable is not confined to the sports arena. It has, in fact, infiltrated almost every area of life.
We see it in the community. Who gets the most attention at school? Is it not the athletic stars, the academically elite, the irresistible personalities, the wealthy? What kind of breaks do the losers get? Who loves those who are socially unskilled, those who have little to offer to the community? Thankfully there are some who truly love the losers, but their number is small. However, Jesus calls on Christians to love all people, especially those low on the social scale: “Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position” (Romans 12:16).
We see it in the home. One of the major reasons divorce is so common is that men and women have not learned true love. It’s easy to love those who love us and fulfill our needs. But of-ten at the first sign of difficulty, the first thought that comes to mind is divorce. Many marriages are begun with the “try it and see” attitude. In the family, as long as a person is getting what he/she wants, everything is wonderful. But the test of true love is when the family starts to deteriorate: it may be attractiveness, health, a job, companionship, affection, energy, etc. Loving a loser is much more difficult than loving a winner. And so the temptation is to bail out like a fair-weather football fan. But true love stays and works to improve the problems.
We also see it in the church. There are those who are “fans” of the church as long as the church is fulfilling their needs and desires. But let circumstances turn, before you know it they have bailed out, looking for something more favorable. We also see it in another way. Instead of loving and honoring every member of the body, some are given special treatment while others are neglected. True love treats every member with the kind of love they received from God.
Thanks be to God that, though we are all losers because of sin, He loves us anyway, and has forgiven and accepted us through Jesus. Interestingly, learning to love losers will make us winners.
As Christians we must be careful not to be intimidated by the world. We must stand up for our convictions. Years ago, Jimmy Durante told of a baseball game being umpired by a runt of a fellow. An enormous player was at the plate and an equally large catcher stood behind him. The count was one and one. The little umpire watched the pitch sizzle across a corner, and yelled, “Two!” “Two what?” snarled the catcher, mashing his mask into the umpire’s face.” “Yeah, two what?” growled the batter, raising his bat. The umpire looked from one brute to the other and said, “Too close to tell.” He felt the pressure to remain neutral.
The will of the world and the will of God are in constant conflict. In every way possible the world is trying to get us to conform to its standards (or lack thereof), while God desires the best for us by urging us to conform to His will. Do we have the courage to stand up for God and righteousness? The world is not the Christian’s friend. In fact, we are enjoined, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (I John 2:15-17)
This is no time for the Christian to be wishy washy. Rather than being conformed to the world, we must be transformed by the renewal of our mind, as the apostle Paul urges. In a day when anything goes in morality and religion we need to hear again the inspired words of Jude, “I found it necessary to write, appealing to you to contend for the faith, which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Christians have no option but to take a stand!
In the home, it is kindness!
In business, it is honesty!
In society, it is courtesy!
In work it is fairness!
Toward the unfortunate it is assistance!
Toward the meek, it is help!
Toward the penitent, it forgiveness!
Toward wickedness, it is resistance!
Toward the fortunate, it is congratulation!
Toward, God it is reverence and service!