The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern.
Mockers stir up a city,
but the wise turn away anger.
Forming a single-minded whole out of many - that's what the word unite means. Those who are righteous, those who are wise - they are the ones who work towards unity.
But can we be unified with someone who does not have that same mind? Can I unite with another individual who does not seek the mind of Christ?
We have to be careful. God's Word is so clear that there are clear areas where we cannot conform to the world. Jesus-followers are not to deviate from His standard, His way of operating, His thoughts, His priorities. We cannot compromise and cross over that line.
Yet, is it inconceivable to believe that, since all men are created in the image of God, there would be certain times, certain events, certain experiences where those who are of the world would see things the way God does? I think so...
And I'm thinking of a recent "event."
I'm sure you recall the ALS Bucket Challenge that took social media - and regular media, for that matter - by storm last summer. I thought it was an interesting, unique, often humorous, simple and easy way to unite - worldwide, even - around a single cause: helping bring some hope to those fighting a horrifying, debilitating and humiliating disease. I thought it was neat to see so many of my friends, even some of my children, choosing to participate.
Then came those who, according to these verses in Proverbs, I wanted to label as wicked and as mockers. And many of them came from evangelical and more fundamental Christian groups. They were the ones discouraging participation. The reason was that they didn't want to see funds dumped into one cause which would then lead to those funds being used to support something wrong and sinful. They didn't want to see monies contributed under the banner of helping those with ALS then make possible stem-cell research projects, projects which often use tissue from aborted babies. I get that - I used to volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center and have, just recently, been able to get back into that sort of work through our local Pregnancy Resource Center (yeah... the name changed). I value life - whether it be the life of an individual with an awful disease or the life of the tiniest of humans just beginning to grow in a woman's womb. I truly see how an individual could seemingly run into an impasse...
But that's where God's righteousness, God's wisdom, can help us to unite. Rather than focusing only on the piece that's wrong, then coming to the conclusion that I shouldn't participate and I should therefore discourage you and everyone else I can to not participate as well... Can I trust God to show me a way to be apart of a good movement, sweeping through the world, that clearly bears His image? Can I find another way to contribute, one of the organizations that doesn't participate in embryonic stem cell research? Can I donate to a family living with ALS? Can I bring glory to God and point others towards Him through right and wise opportunities to work together?
Or do I assume it's impossible, and forget that with God, nothing is impossible.