- Lusi Austin
WHAT IF YOU'RE NEITHER LEFT NOR RIGHT?!
People love labels and boxes. Things that fit neatly are more easily packaged and generally easier to handle. Right now, there is much pressure for people, believers and non-believers alike, to align themselves loudly and proudly as either ‘left’ or ‘right’.
But what happens when you are neither? What happens when you are a bit of both? What happens when you do not slide easily into one side or the other? Where do you fit, how do you belong if you are left in some things, right on others or just more down the line? Where does that leave you? Where does that leave me?
I am not anti-government nor do I think the government has Sovereign rule over my life. I see Jesus telling people in His day to ‘render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to give to God that which is His’ (Matthew 22:21). The apostle Paul remained under house arrest for two whole years in a rented house because he obeyed the laws of the land (Acts 28:30). He didn’t try and break out but accepted that this was God’s will for him and that God was still with him.
NOT A SHEEP
I have been called a modern day ‘sheep’ for getting vaccinated but I am only a ‘sheep’ of the True Shepherd (John 10:11). Having prayed about whether or not to be vaccinated, I waited on God and felt His perfect peace that surpassed understanding. I weighed up my options. I received my vaccinations, trusting in the One who gives and takes away all life. I do not ridicule or mock my friends who have not received a vaccination as I do not believe that to be the way of love (1 Corinthians 13). NOT A SNOWFLAKE
I have been called a snowflake for homeschooling my children and believing in the way of gentle-parenting. I will continue to advocate for the needs of my neurodiverse children in ways that honour the unique ways in which they were made (Psalm 139:13-16)
I am not rebellious by loving those who are different to me. This is what I am commanded to do. Jesus Himself did this. Many expected Him (demanded Him!) to turn away from the lepers, the prostitutes and cheaters that He so often gravitated towards (Mark 2:17). I too am drawn to those who are often cast out, cast aside by society. The stories and experiences of those who have walked the road less trodden are often more captivating to me. I will continue to seek to love those who are different to me and I seek to love them with my whole heart.
NOT SUPPORTING A LEADER ‘JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE A CHRISTIAN’
I was approached by a man at the park, an acquaintance, who told me that he was concerned about my ‘liberal political views’. To be clear, he wasn’t meaning ‘liberal’ as in the Australian political party, he was meaning that my views in general were too liberal. This was because I had said in passing that a certain POTUS who had once waved a Bible in the air (who could not quote a passage from that same Bible), who had publicly and unashamedly mocked disabled people, demeaned women and engaged in crude talk, should be someone who I supported because he identified as a Christian (Ephesians 5:3-6). When I read about the way Jesus interacted with people, he never did any of these things.
He also told us to judge the fruit in a person’s life (just like you can tell a healthy tree if it bears healthy fruit – Matthew 7:15-23). I know that it is God who judges a man’s heart, not us but He also didn’t tell us to just approve of a leader because they are a believer. In fact, we are called to pray for our leaders and to be discerning about them.
So where does that leave us? I want to radically follow my Leader, my Messiah.
He assures me that He is with me always, that He has never left nor forsaken me. In this I have full assurance because after over two decades of walking with Him, I have found Him to be kind, true to His Word and an amazing friend. I have found Him faithful even when I have not been to Him.
CARE FOR THE VULNERABLE AND THE VOICELESS
When I read what He is passionate about, I see that He commanded Israel not to mistreat a foreigner, not oppressing him because Israel at one time were aliens in Egypt (Exodus 22:21 and Exodus 23:9). I also read that He hears the cries of the widow and the orphan (Exodus 22:22). He did this for Ruth, making provision in the Torah for those like her to be provided for as they gleaned in others’ fields (Leviticus 23:22). These Scriptures make me want to pray for the alien, refugee and foreigners living amongst my community. They also call me to action – to be a practical help to those in need just like Boaz was to Ruth. CARE FOR COUNTRY
I believe in being a good steward of the lands we have been blessed with too. As all creation groans (Romans 8:22) at the brokenness of the earth, I do too and feel compelled to do the little things I can now to help make changes for the future for my children. The earth of the here and now is important, crafted and created by the One who does not make a mistake but it is only a foreshadowing of the original design of the Garden (Genesis 2:8-9) and of the Perfect and Wholeness in the World to come (Revelation 21).
HOMESICK FOR OUR TRUE HOME & A HOPE FOR ETERNITY
Sometimes I catch a glimpse of some beautiful thing like the light dancing in the treetops in the afternoon sunset or the delight in the eyes and clenched fist of a chubby toddler caught in a fit of contagious giggles and in these moments, I sense wholeness, shalom and a hope in eternity.
May I (we) have the discernment to know the Way as we walk and may we hear His voice helping us as we navigate the path.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice saying, “This is the way; walk in it”.