"What Would You Do?"

Last week, I had one of those “moving” television experiences. I don’t know if you know what I’m talking about, but it really is something. It’s a moment when what you see becomes a catalyst for change, and spurs you on toward something bigger – something deeper. Again, I had one of those moments.

I was sitting in this ridiculously comfortable chair my parents have when “What Would You Do?” came on ABC. You see, the entire show is based around monitoring how people will respond to various set-up situations, many of which hit the heart pretty hard. The people who are part of the random charades are paid actors who have become pros at feeling comfortable with angry rebukes, and odd bystanders. Excited for what this particular episode would hold, I turned the volume up, grabbed a blanket, and leaned back. Four scenarios came across my screen:

  1. A woman of Chinese decent was sitting in a crowded restaurant with her daughter who had made an A- on test. Not satisfied, the girl’s mom pounded her daughter with all sorts of insults about her grades and educational performance.
  2. A pregnant teenage woman was meeting with a married couple who was interested in adopting the child she was carrying. The pregnant woman promised the couple they would receive the baby but explained that she had a few medical costs she needed covered. The married couple agreed to pay them, a deal was made, and the couple left. A few minutes later, another young married couple walks in and meets with the pregnant woman. She makes the same promise, to give them the child she was carrying, and receives another check.
  3. A 15-year-old boy wants to buy condoms for him and his girlfriend to use; however, he knows the cashier at the counter and is fearful that she will tell his mom, so he asks random customers to buy them for him.Toward the end of this act, ABC threw in another scenario: The same situation is played out but with a teenage girl who wants to buy the Plan B pill.
  4. A couple is demonstrating domestic violence along a walking trail in the middle of the day. The boyfriend is pushing his girlfriend around as he insults the way she is dressed.

As each scenario played out, I was amazed to see how different people responded. To the first one, women went CRAZY. Several women went up to the child when her mom went to the restroom and told her to call 911. One woman even cussed the mom out as she chased her out of the restaurant. In the second one, only one man went up to the second couple and explained that they were being scammed. In act 3, all sorts of responses were evoked. The teenage boy got a few fist pumps, a few lectures, and almost every time a pack of condoms. What about the teenage girl wanting Plan B? She received a lot of compassion, and only one woman refused to buy her the pill. The fourth and final set-up is what challenged me the most…

As a quite large young adult pushed his girlfriend around, people put their own lives in danger by stepping in the middle of it all. One woman, a petite rollerblader, even demanded that the man leave and was later brought to tears as she tried to comfort the embarrassed and abused girlfriend. Two grandmas stepped in, and several large bodyguards, as well. I was amazed most, however, by a young, and very skinny, man who pushed the boyfriend out of the way and asked that he take his frustration out on him instead of the girl. Incredible.

I took a deep breath and turned off the television.

Two days later I sat at Starbucks thinking about what I had watched. What caused some of these people to be so courageous? When ABC asked them, they simply said that they had to do the right thing. Would I? I found my answer through another question…

What causes people to be courageous for Christ?

I hear stories all the time. For example, a pastor on staff with the church I work for was at the movies when he saw a husband and wife fighting. Although he wanted to avoid the awkwardness, his wife gently nudged him hinting that he needed to intervene. So, he strolled over, and had a very calm conversation with the man and his wife. He asked them what was wrong and sympathized with them. The pastor had been there before. The story was familiar. The fighting couple, no longer fought. Instead, they cried. Healing was found. People were pointed toward Christ.

What about Paul of the New Testament? Beaten, stoned, imprisoned, chained and killed for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Or what about David? His own son betrayed him, enemies sought after his life, he continually sought to love his enemy only to receive hate in return. What causes such boldness? What silences fears in a way that allows people to live like this? What causes people to be courageous for Christ?

I believe it all comes down to hope.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

“So do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be dismayed for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

What causes a man or woman to do courageous things for the sake of the gospel? I believe, it’s a hope that is placed fully in God. A displaced hope leads to a disoriented and mixed-up purpose.

“My soul finds rest in God alone;

My salvation comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;

He is my fortress, I will never be shaken…

My salvation and my honor depend on God;

He is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;

Pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:1-2, 7-8)

God alone is where David found his comfort, joy and hope. He set his life on the fact that God was the only sure thing. This allowed him to be unshakable. God was his refuge in times of spiritual hardship, or physical danger. David didn’t run to food, clothes, riches, control or fame in the middle of hard times; he ran to the Lord. He found his definition through God – not through the world – for he knew it would fail him, but his God would not.

My hope can’t be found in a relationship, a job, a certain financial situation, the clothes I wear, the material possessions I acquire, or in my social status. It can’t be found in being a certain size or reaching a desired spot of physical fitness. Relationships will end, my body will force me into retirement, or my company will. My money will run out, or it’ll just go to the next person in my family when I die. I’ll grow out of my clothes, and my material possessions will grow old. I will let people down and they will do the same to me. My body will decline, as age becomes an issue. I can’t put my eggs in these baskets. I can’t bank my money there. They’ll all fail me. I know this. I’ve tried.

Christ is certain. If half of my eggs are in his basket and the other half are somewhere else, I still end up displaced. I end up confused and utterly ineffective. I want to do what’s right. I don’t want to fear what will happen for doing it. I want to stand up for justice, and love in it all. I want to fearlessly proclaim Christ, but, if I’m honest, many times I shrink back.

To be courageous, I’ve got to focus on the fact that in life or death, Christ remains. To be where He wants me is the richest reward this life can offer. He makes hard times bearable and filled with purpose. Stand up for justice, seek peace, and humbly walk with Him…whatever happens, He’s got me, and his hope does not disappoint.


I doesn’t matter who you are, there’s just something about a clean room. You walk in and your heart is at ease. You breathe deep with genuine satisfaction, for everything is complete. Your carpet is vacuumed, your shades are dusted, your bed is made, and all your clothes are hung up. Haaaaah…the long awaited exhale of order – it’s deeply satisfying.

The past two months of my life have been rather challenging. Through post-eating disorder thoughts, the desire to fully control my time, and random spouts of insecurity, I have seen how un-together I am. I am learning, in some areas quicker than others, that when I try to control things, they get out of hand, for my solution is rarely the right one. When I try to create my own way of ordering things, they often times end up chaotic. I pile on one thing after the other until WHAM! I’m lost in it. My room (my heart that is) gets messy.

I believe we were created to be in order. If God made our hearts, our bodies, and the world in which we live, it would make sense that he knows how they best work together. On a WAY smaller scale, it’s almost like a software developer who knows the ins and outs of the program he developed. He knows what things work well with other things and what it takes to make everything run properly. He knows what commands will cause disaster and what commands will cause success. How? Because he created it, and He knows it that well. He purposed the program to run smoothly, and he created a way in which that could happen. The program wont be successful unless it runs as it should.

If God created us for a specific purpose, or plan, He must have created a way in which we were to complete, or pursue, it. I don’t believe that God just placed us here with the hope that we would do what we want, when we wanted to. (If that were the case, I’d have to question God. I mean, C’mon! Creating man for nothing…that just seems like a waste of time.) I believe He placed us here to follow him – to be in order with Him – so that through us He could do miraculous things that would further His glory and kingdom.

The other morning, I woke up with intense anxiety. As I got ready for work, my mind raced with all sorts of thoughts about my paycheck, how much I had spent over the past month, and how much I needed to get through the month. In order to put the internal angst to death, I speed-walked over to my computer and looked up my bank statement. After assuring myself that I was okay, I checked out all of the things I had bought that month. Food, clothes, movie tickets, gum, iTunes songs, and finally, there, tucked into a long list of items, was the amount I had given to causes beyond myself. I felt the sense of security leave me, and again, I felt a lack of peace when it came to my checkbook. Something just felt wrong. Something felt out of line.

Another story hits me…

A few weeks ago I was sitting across the table with a dear friend of mine. As the surface-level ‘catch-up’ conversation started to fade out and the chips in our bowl started to deplete, tears began to flow. As I looked at my friend crying, it was obvious that something was ‘off.’ This time it was in her current relationship. Confusion, worry, doubt, anxiety, unrest, the battle for control, hopelessness, self-blame, and sorrow spilled out. Something was out of sync.

The list goes on and on. A father abandons his wife and child – disorder. A sister betrays her sister by sleeping with her sister’s husband – disorder. A savvy businessman invests his life building an empire but never spends a single day at his child’s soccer game – disorder. Kids get bullied – you guessed it…disorder.

As I mentioned above, I’m no stranger to disorder. Whether it be pride leading me to embarrassment, a improper view of money, or placing my hope in what others think of me, I’ve felt the lack of harmony that comes with living my life out of order. If I were honest with you, I’d let you know that I somewhat feel it now as I struggle with re-learning how to have a healthy view of food. I continually feel the ‘old order’ (the order that wants to control everything I eat so that I can maintain a certain waist size) fighting for my heart, but that’s my woman-made order, and I must learn to let go of the reigns it has on my life. I desire the freedom that only He can bring.

I was listening to a podcast today, and the speaker said something that resonated with me. She said, “Obedience (order) breeds peace; disobedience (disorder) breeds chaos.” So true.

If I believe I was created by the God of the Bible (which I do), then I must believe that I was created in His image. In this, I must believe He knows best how I ought to live, for He created the world in which I walk. Didn’t He? His words weren’t given to me just to read and throw aside. They are, in fact, the means by which I which I am to live. He created to be inline with Him. When I’m not, when I’m out of sync, and I feel it because it’s a result of me living life apart from Him, my creator.

Isaiah 26:3 reads, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trust in you.”

Much like my room, I need order in my heart. I need everything to be in line, and the only way that can happen is by seeking God, the one who gives me life. In seeking Him, I find out what He has to say about where I am. I must humbly allow Him to align my heart with His, even if it doesn’t make sense or is painful for me. This brings order, and order brings peace. Refreshing.