What is it about human nature that compels us to take sides against each other? Throughout history, you can see evidence of how groups of people eventually split apart over some disagreement, which then led them to either take up arms against each other or run away to do their own thing.
Groups with opposing ideologies are always at each others’ throats. Democrats versus Republicans. Christians versus Muslims. Batman versus Superman. We have an opinion, and when we find people who share our opinion, we like ganging up on others who disagree.
And, to be perfectly honest, sometimes, taking a side is good. You have to stand for something, right? But how do you know which side is right? That’s the hard part. If you take a side, that means you have to stand against the other side. And if there’s nothing else I’ve learned in my life, it’s that every story has more than one side. So if you’re using somebody’s story to decide which side you’re going to support, you might want to make sure you have considered all the angles. Otherwise, if the side you’re supporting turns out to be full of it, you’re going to be a part of hurting a lot of innocent people.
So how can you know what side to be on? Can you choose a side that you can always know will be the right one?
Today’s verses are Joshua 24:14-15.
“So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
This is Joshua talking. Joshua took over leading the Children of Israel when Moses was finished. And this is at the end of Joshua’s life, where he’s reminding the people around him of the choices they had. They could choose to follow God, or they could choose not to follow God.
Funny enough, those are the same two choices we have today. Not much has changed.
In our lives, in our families, we have two choices. We can either live the way God has told us to live, or we can choose not to. Now, that looks different from person to person. Maybe you have a wonderful family, but just because you have a great life doesn’t mean you’re following God.
And, granted, following God looks different from person to person, but the number one characteristic you’ll see in the life of someone who is pursuing God with his/her whole heart is a singular focus on pleasing God.
So the next time someone asks you whose side you’re on, think about it. There are really only two sides you can be on. God’s Side or Not God’s Side. It’s not about the democrats and the republicans. It’s not about the liberals and the conservatives. It’s not about the air-in-the-tires Amish and the no-air-in-the-tires Amish (no, I’m not making that up). Are you on God’s side or aren’t you?
When God says trust Him, do you trust Him? When God says to love Him, do you love Him? When God says to love people, do you love people? Or are you buried so deep in your own self-importance that all you can see and hear is what you want for yourself?
The attitude of the heart directs our actions. What’s in our hearts that comes out of our mouths. Why matters more than What. Granted, some “whats” are always a bad idea, regardless of the why, but you understand what I’m saying.
It’s easy to support someone who is hurting because there’s something in us that wants to stand up for the little guy. We all cheer for the underdogs. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But are you sure your underdog is really telling the truth? Or are you letting blind loyalty direct your choices rather than God?
If taking a side means that you have to hurt someone else, physically or emotionally, I don’t think that’s what God wants or asks. So count the cost before you take a side, and make sure you’re on the side that is truly blameless. That’s the only side that will keep you blameless too.