“Blessed are those who defend their rights,” said nobody, ever.

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This week, I have been thinking hard about the self-identified Christians making news.

Some believe their religious freedom is under attack. They are fighting back by seeking to legalize discrimination. I was actually going to write an entire post about that issue today.

Then, I saw this news story. Priests in the Ukraine are leaving their opulent churches to minister in the streets, amid riots and violence.

Protests Continue In Kiev As The Opposition Calls For A Snap Election

Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest.

REUTERS PICTURE HIGHLIGHT

The churches have become temporary shelter and first-aid outposts.

I was hungry. And you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty. And you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger. And you invited me in. I needed clothes. And you gave them to me. I was sick. And you took care of me. I was in prison. And you came to visit me.

A priest stands in the lobby of the hotel Ukraine near bodies of anti-government protesters killed during clashes with riot police in Kiev

I am humbled by the example of these priests. This is what the Church is all about! To represent God, here on earth. To comfort the broken hearted.

 I wonder, how often do I get so caught up with what’s happening inside my place of worship, that I forget those on the outside? How many times have I overlooked the hurting, choosing instead to focus on my own hurt? Am I fighting for my rights, when I should be fighting against spiritual forces?

Today, my prayer for American Christians is that we would stop clinging so defensively to our earthly freedom. I pray that that we would go on the offensive, taking to the streets with messages of hope, help and comfort. I pray that we will no longer be distracted by what is temporal, but that our focus will be on things that are eternal.

Blessed are those who are spiritually needy.
    The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
Blessed are those who are sad.
    They will be comforted.
Blessed are those who are free of pride.
    They will be given the earth.
Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for what is right.
    They will be filled.
Blessed are those who show mercy.
    They will be shown mercy.
Blessed are those whose hearts are pure.
    They will see God.
Blessed are those who make peace.
    They will be called [children] of God.
Blessed are those who suffer for doing what is right.
    The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

Blessed are you when people make fun of you and hurt you because of me.

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