“Sometimes what a man needs to see is another man just stand against the undercurrent of culture. It’s the apologetics of standing.” When my South African friend uttered those words, I got Mini Cooper sized goosebumps down my arms.
It reminded me of a scene in Batman Begins when Bruce Wayne enters the cave that housed his greatest source of fear. As a child, he had fallen into that cave and startled thousands of bats. That experience planted the seeds of fear in his mind. Later, as a man, as these bats began to swarm, Wayne fell to the ground, beset by doubts, only to summon the courage to stand in the midst of his fear. My friends and I shouted “Yeah!” as we could tangibly feel the determination it took for him to stand.
In the theater of our minds, we dream of being such men—noble men with superpower. Whether it’s saving the damsel in distress, rescuing a baby from a burning building before it collapses, or defending a nation against an intergalactic foe, we want to wear the cape of justice.
Where does this yearning for justice come from?
Why is it that when we see a child being abused or an animal mistreated, something rises up in us and demands justice for the victim?
I believe it comes from the creator of the universe being a God of justice. We see the evidence for this in the life of his son as Christ proclaimed in Luke 4:18:
“The spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”
When I read this passage, I don’t see a man who is without purpose or resolve. Christ was clear about His mission. This absolute belief in mission was foundational for the strength and courage he needed to stand firm when accusations, rejection, and ridicule filled the air. Toward the end of his life, as Jesus stood to be sentenced before Pilot, he wasn’t standing against culture, he was standing for justice. He was standing for the very people who shouted, “Crucify him, Crucify him!” and the freedom from sin made possible only by his death and resurrection.
Isn’t it the same today?
When we stand for Christ, culture accuses, rejects, ridicules and cries for our demise. We’re depicted as Christian caricatures who represent an archaic way of thought not applicable to today’s realities. Our response to the mockery reveals the strength of our beliefs and whether the material used to build our spiritual foundation stands on rock or sand.
If rock, our faith in Christ and the power of his resurrection and our confidence in the gospel will enable us to withstand the cultural undercurrent with the same love and compassion he consistently displayed.
If sand, the cultural undercurrent will eventually erode our ability to withstand the storms. Then we will be swept away with the grains of sand we built on.
What kind of injustice should we stand against?
The greatest injustice we face isn’t child exploitation or animal cruelty. It’s the condition of the human heart that has been ravaged by sin and sentenced to death. James 1:14-15 says:
“but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
The cure for this injustice can only be found by accepting absolute faith in the resurrection of Christ, evidenced by proclaiming freedom for prisoners and setting the oppressed free with unadulterated courage. Not that fear isn’t present, but its presence is nullified by our faith in Christ.
When we see a man who speaks truth and then backs that belief with the action of standing amidst the current, we admire, cheer, and wish we had whatever he has—especially when it’s done with decency and respect. Even if the multitudes are murmuring with laughter, deep down we wish we had the spine of steel to take a stand.
The truth is you do.
The same power that Jesus displayed is available to all who proclaim him Lord.
The truth is God’s love for us is so strong that he withholds nothing from us. No weapon for warfare, no answer to our problems—nothing.
The truth is our adversary knows it and will pull up hell to convince you otherwise.
Are you willing to boldly walk to the cave where your greatest fear awaits? Generations of young and old are in need of an example to give them the hope that it can be done.