Pastor's Monthly Message for October 2009

Free To Follow Your Heart

Like the lion cubs in the movie "Born Free" you and I also have a need to follow our heart. We call it "conviction" which is the belief and testimony which give us the courage to challenge life.

Conviction does not come easily. There will always be other people who have a different point of view, different beliefs, and different standards. To be able to decide for ourselves and to establish our own operating principles is part of what it means to be "born free".

Varying options will always create divisions. At best, we will find others who share our convictions; at worst we will stand alone, sometimes even find it necessary to defend our beliefs at great personal cost. It is when we stand alone that we must examine our position most carefully. There is not much of a challenge in accepting what everyone else believes; the difficulty lies in defending an unpopular viewpoint-especially defending it to ourselves.

Part of that challenge is to know one is right. No one wants to be wrong, but determining what is right requires soul-searching effort. Sometimes, both sides are right, or partially right; sometimes neither side. And so each of us must arrive at our own conclusions, develop our own convictions. If we are sincere in our efforts, we will rely both on logic and prayer. In order to have deep convictions we must trust the Holy Spirit to give us guidance.

There is something else we need to remember. We cannot condemn another person because they disagree with us. Even if we think them wrong, we should give them credit for their beliefs. No one should be faulted for acting in a way he honestly believes he should. Leaders are often placed in a precarious position of carrying out the will of the people while not violating their own personal beliefs. Sometimes, there is no choice, as one's conscience will not allow him to do other than what his convictions dictate.

Developing strong convictions is a character-building exercise. It means we must have the courage to stand up in defense of what we believe, to change when we find we are wrong, and allow all others the same privilege.