Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: Stand
1. If you were alive in 1963, do you remember this incident? If so, do you remember what Christians on either side of debates around civil rights were saying? Are people saying any of those things today, with regard to other issues?
2. Caldwell seems to be saying that at least some issues have clear “right” and “wrong” sides, and that those on the wrong side have been led astray by Satan. Do you agree? If not, what does lead people astray? If yes, what or who is Satan, in your view?
“When the thousand years [of Christ’s reign] are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations…” – Revelation 20:7-8a
Fifty-five years ago today transpired what, depending on your point of view, was either a heroic stand against the forces of social decay, or an appalling attempt to block the forces of progress. On June 11, 1963, George Wallace, then-Governor of Alabama, took his famous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” at an auditorium at the University of Alabama. Almost ten years before, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board had declared it unconstitutional to segregate public schools according to race. When, after much struggle and almost a decade, three black students were finally admitted to the University of Alabama, Wallace decided to block them from entering to finish their registration. So there he stood, a bulwark of…something…in his own mind. Plenty of people supported him. Plenty did not.
History has passed a righteous judgement on Wallace. But if you can’t wait for history to decide, how do you figure out how to act? When change is roiling the nation, when mores and morals and standards and norms shift, when we seem to be split right down the middle, when ugly truths about ourselves are getting harder and harder to deny, how do you decide where God wants you to make your stand? Even if you call yourself a follower of Jesus, how do you really know if you’ve been listening to the Deceiver or the Savior?
Jesus got asked this same question once, in different words. “What is the greatest commandment?” they asked him, and you know he said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” “Ok, but who’s my neighbor?” you might ask, as they did. And if the one you’ve been following answers anything other than, “Every-damn-body,” it just simply isn’t Jesus.
God, give me power to find your will and your longing in every situation. Then when the time comes, let me take my stand, and let it be a stand for love. Amen.