Stand Up

I have no Ukrainian or Russian ancestry, nor visited either country.  Still, I grieve over recent events and will respond in a few ways…

You see, my family of origin is a melting pot of German, Swedish, Irish, Chinese, Korean, and Hispanic ancestry, Protestant and Catholic religious heritage, all mixed and built together through marriages, births, adoptions, shared joys and sorrows, and traditions old and new.

What’s held together our unique tribe over the years?  It’s shared love and mutual respect that come from God and transcend thinking that “different others” are somehow less important or a threat.  Despite our differences in ancestry, life experience, identity, interests, and priorities, this love and respect have done a good job banishing corrosive attitudes of superiority or resentment towards others.

In recent weeks, the Book of Exodus has vividly reminded me that God stands against those who oppressenslave, and/or exploit other human beings.  Such actions, in word or deed, seek to deny the inherent dignity, value, and potential of all people, even though they are unalterably loved by God.  Whether done in carelessness, ignorance, or by purposed plan, God is against it.

In Exodus many years ago, despite 150 years of positive partnership with Israelites flourishing in Egypt, a new family of Egyptian Pharaohs chose to consolidate their power and expand their domain.  To that end, they oppressed their former partners, ruthlessly working and exploiting them for nearly 250 years as slaves.  However, when God got involved, it didn’t go well for Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

My dad would call Pharaoh a bully.  He once talked to me about bullies saying, “You have to stand up to them.  Even if it costs you,  it costs far more if you don’t.”  With that in mind, here are a few ideas to help us stand up to today’s bullies, including the one that all too often appears from under our own skins!  I invite you to respond with me as described below or however God directs you…

1)  Ask God to defend/free the Ukrainian people and others under oppression by his mighty hand, like he did for Israel in Egypt.
2)  Ask God to give wisdom to world leaders toward a solution and help us bear the costs of sanctions or other needed actions.
3)  Ask God to help us look in the mirror of his love to address our own instances/habits of bullying attitudes, words, or actions.

Let’s trust God to keep moving forward as we follow Jesus together!