I'm On Your Side

I'm on your side. I'm for you. I've got your back! You can count on me.

Those can be purely magical words, can't they? When you're back is against a wall, when you feel like the world is rising up against you, when you've made a huge mistake and you don't know how to make things right, it can be a huge relief just to know that someone is standing there with you.

We've all had times when we felt alone in the battle. We've felt misunderstood, outnumbered, scared, overwhelmed, on the defense, left out, and defeated. Those times are going to come. But it sure helps to know that there is at least one other person who is forsaking all else in order to stand right there with you in that awkward spot.

I thank God for the people who have stood in the corner with me in times past. I bet you're grateful for a few folks like that too. Maybe you had a teacher who came alongside you in a difficult subject to help you succeed. Maybe you had a parent who went to bat for you when a bully was making life difficult, scary. Maybe you've had a few friends who have weathered life's storms with you. Aren't we all grateful?

Today I read in 1 Chronicles 12:18 these words from David's supporters, his mighty men:

We are yours, O David;
We are on your side, O son of Jesse!
Peace, peace to you,
And peace to your helpers!
For your God helps you.

The end of that verse reads, "So David received them, and made them captains of the troop." You bet he did. Wouldn't you? What a sigh of relief he must have breathed as he realized that he had some good, strong, smart, and capable men on his side!

I don't know if you're feeling backed into a corner today or not. But my bet is that someone in your life is. Maybe someone close to you has creditors breathing down their neck. Perhaps you have a friend who is battling the mighty giant cancer. Maybe someone has been misunderstood, under attack, or ostracized for their beliefs. You might have a friend who is battling an addiction, fighting a custody battle, or trying to work through a difficult marriage. More than likely you know someone who is weary from a battle of some sort. Do you? Have you thought of someone who fits that description?

Sometimes, as in the case of David, it is quite clear that the person fighting the battle of their lives is standing smack dab in the middle of God's will. Like David, God is for them. You know that to be true. They have walked a godly path and suddenly they have found themselves, by no mistake of their own, to be accosted by the bandits of the enemy. They are under a sudden attack and have been taken completely unaware.

In such cases, you have complete freedom to take their side, stand up for them, even stand in the gap for them. And you feel victorious and valiant and brave all the while. You're standing for the innocent, the godly, the lovely.

But what about those times when the issue takes a grey hue? What about the times when you're not sure if the friend or family member is quite so innocent, blameless, or even right? That's a tough call.

But here's one thing I know. A friend sticks close, even when the going gets tough. And we can stand by someone even if we don't believe he's completely guilt-free. We can still offer support, love, grace, forgiveness, wise counsel, a shoulder to lean on, an ear to hear them out, or a word of encouragement. We don't have to get caught up in trying to teach them a lesson; God has that covered. We are not called to cast judgment, but to give love and mercy and grace. 

I'm all for tough love and boundaries, but I'm afraid we -- I -- err too often on the side of disassociation rather than the side of sticking close when the going gets tough. But unless God clearly directs us to draw a line in the sand and stay on our side, I think we might do the more Christlike thing by stepping closer to our hurting brother or sister rather than stepping away.

Just a thought. What do you think?

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