Circle of Protection

The Musk Ox seems to have more sense than God’s family at times. When faced with danger, musk oxen form a circle with their heads and horns facing outward. In the center of this circle of protection, musk oxen place their young and weak. They gather for mutual protection rather that trying to go out on their own or running away. We can learn a lot from the Musk Ox. When things get tough, we have a tendency to withdraw from those who care for us the most. When trouble comes, instead of coming together to draw on our mutual strength, we stray from the pack and conjure up lame excuses to justify our actions.
We should all remember the old saying, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” As long as we are on this earth, Christians will make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes will be embarrassing, not only to the person themselves but also to the church. Our tendency in such cases is to distance ourselves from the situation. We leave the weak ones outside the circle of protection to fend for themselves. Scripture tells us that we have an obligation to our brothers and sisters in spiritual need. “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1,2).
Young Christians are especially vulnerable to being abandoned in their time of need. Mature Christians should be the first to stand beside a fallen brother or sister. We need not be afraid to admit that we too have stood where they are standing. By doing so, we are not condoning their sin, but rather we are protecting them in a time of weakness. We are showing them that while perfection is not in our lot as humans, maturity is.
Jesus was not afraid to stand beside those who had fallen prey to temptation. In the case of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus stood beside her and became a one man “circle of protection.” Not once did Jesus say her actions were acceptable, yet not once did Jesus act as if she was unworthy of his presence. On the contrary, once the protagonists had disappeared, those who delight in the fall of another, Jesus was able to show her the way to repentance. “Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).
Helping God’s children in their darkest time of need is as close to being Christ-like as one can get. It was for this purpose that Jesus came to earth, and it is because of our sin that he suffered death on the cross. “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).

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Mitchell Skelton

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