Throughout history there have been times when standing for what is right made you part of the majority. There were other times when standing for what is right caused you to stand against the majority. Sometimes things were so bad that standing for what is right would cost you as much as your life. Standing against the majority is not easy. But it is easier than selling out your principles.
The picture at the top of this devotional illustrates the concept of standing against the wrong that everyone else is standing for. A pastor friend posted the photo, and I thought it was worth an extended thought. In this picture we see a couple of things going on. I find three types of people in the photo. In fact, I'm going to say that there are three types of people in the world, and you can find them in this picture.
Most of the people in this picture are willing to fall in lockstep with the evil leader. They are saluting Hitler whose bloody rampage ravaged a continent and claimed the lives of nearly 10 million people who he considered to be less than human. He required ultimate allegiance. For whatever reason, he captured the heart of a generation of Germans and their loyalty is a mystery to this day. The mindless following of a cruel tyrant is found in this picture. Unfortunately most people fall into this category. This is the majority.
There is the obvious primary subject of the photo. This guy is crossing his arms in apparent defiance of the leader and the masses. Who knows why? Perhaps he lost someone dear in concentration camps. Perhaps he is a man of principle who knows exactly where unbridled power in the hands of an evil man leads. Maybe he is thinking about the burned toast he had to eat that morning. I don't know. But the impression is that he ain't buying what somebody is selling. This guy is the minority.
These are the two extreme groups in a culture that is given over to evil... the spineless majority, and the convictional minority. But as I looked at the photo I saw a third person... a third type. Now, this is conjecture, but I think it has merit. Look at the guy who is just above the main subject and to the left. The guy is at the 11:30 position as you look at the defiant man. He has his hand out in the salute, but he appears to be looking at our hero. To me he seems to be thinking, "Man, you're crazy. But I wish I had a backbone like you." Now whether he is actually thinking that or not, there is no way to know. But the fact is, that there are people who feel this way. This guy is part of the many, or the middle.
There are many people in life who do not approve of evil, but they simply go along to get along. They know what is right and wrong, but they just don't take a stand for whatever reason. But not taking a stand for right is taking a stand for wrong. These people see those standing firm for righteousness and wish they had the ability to take a stand. Maybe fear causes them to go along with the majority. Maybe it is peer pressure. Maybe they just don't think they can make a difference. Whatever the case, these people live frustrated lives of concession until they finally become part of the majority, and not only allow wrong, but approve it.
The Bible talks a great deal about courage, and the danger of not standing against evil. One passage that stands out to me is where the apostle Paul talks about the waves of spiritual attacks that will come against the believing minority in this world. Paul was a man who ultimately gave his life as a martyr for the Gospel, so I think he is a pretty credible source on such issues. Here is what he told a church that was experiencing various spiritual and social pressures...
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)
Stand. After you've done everything else... Stand. Love people who are wrong. Speak out against wrong. Pray for your enemies. Offer life and help to those who persecute you. Surround yourself with Godly people who will help you. But after you've done all of that. You just have to stand. Stand against the leaders of evil. Stand against the followers of evil. Stand on principle. Stand on the word of God. Stand. Fold your redeemed arms and stand for God. You may lose your job. Stand. You may lose your position in the community. Stand. You may lose your friends and even your family. Stand. You may lose your life. Stand.
I honestly don't know the actual story behind this photograph, but I know the meaning behind it. I know we live in a time that will require us to stand for what is right, and that will mean being in the minority. If you are struggling with the faith or courage to stand for what is right, and wish you had the resolve of others you see standing, just get into the Bible, pray, and then stand. The closer you are to God, the easier it will be to stand with Him.
Today you will have the opportunity to stand for God or salute evil. Choose well. Someone is staring at you to see what you do. Ultimately there are only two groups... those who stand and those who salute. Those who stare will eventually be part of one group or the other. You can ride the fence for a while, but the Devil owns the fence, so it is time to pick a side.
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My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.