revdrwalter-t-richardson.jpgTherefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – I Corinthians 15:58.59 (NIV).   Since last year, especially since the shooting death of unarmed 17-year old Trayvon Martin, until this month, with demonstrations that have resulted from the not-guilty verdict for Trayvon’s white shooter George Zimmerman, the stand-your-ground law has become a controversial household term.

In Florida, and some other states, a stand-your-ground law is a type of self-defense law that gives individuals the right to use reasonable force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation.

In light of this recent case involving Zimmerman, it seems reasonable for the state government to at least revisit, review and, perhaps, revise, revamp and possibly rescind the stand-your-ground law. I call it an iridescent law.

Iridescence is an optical illusion and phenomenon of surfaces in which hue changes in correspondence with the angle from which a surface is viewed. The surfaces change depending on from what angle the viewer is watching.

My parents bought me an iridescent suit when I graduated from high school. It was blue one minute and green the next. The “stand-your-ground law” is something similar. It seems to benefit some blacks when the crime is black against black but seems to benefit more whites when the aggressor is white and the victim is black.  

There is another stand-your-ground law which is spiritual and non-controversial. It is practical and powerful. We are encouraged to boldly and fully engage in the work of the Lord. All of God’s children have the moral obligation to work and care for the poor, the weak and the vulnerable – not temporarily but permanently.

Being saved, sure and secure does not mean that we can sit back and rest in what we have to wait on the rapture or death.  Being saved means we are to get to work for the glory of God. Our belief affects our behavior.

We are to stand firm. The King James Version of the Bible reads, “be steadfast,” which implies, “be seated; settled and firmly situated.” It reminds us that we are to be rooted and grounded in what we believe and hold true.  We are to be “seated firmly” in our personal convictions.  Then we are to be stubborn. We are to let nothing move us.

The word “unmovable,” as used in the King James Version, means “not moved from a place; firmly persistent; motionless.”

We must allow nothing to move us from our determination to serve the Lord and act justly. Then we are to be strong, giving ourselves fully to the work of the Lord, “exceeding a fixed amount.” When we consider what we have and who we are by grace, we’re motivated to go all out for the Lord.  He lavished His grace on us so the least we can do is to go overboard in our service for Him. 

Your labor may be tough, your difficulties numerous and your work unacknowledged. You may be overlooked, underestimated, overwhelmed and your duties may be painful. But, if what you have been doing is for the Lord, your work is not in vain.

Be like a solid rock in the time of a storm. Be anointed and absolute, bloody but unbowed, confirmed and convinced, determined and deliberate, established and energized, faithful and firmly fastened, grounded, holding on and holding up. Be inflexible, impervious to pain, impassioned about your mission, immoveable, persevering, plowing ahead, reliable and relentless, stable and unwavering.

Your work is not in vain, so stand your ground.

Dr. Obery Hendricks Jr., author and professor of biblical interpretation at the New York Theological Seminary, prays this prayer: “Help me to stand fast and wax faithful, so my children and my grandchildren might have better lives, so every baby has enough to eat, so every child receives enough education to find a rightful place in the world, so every working man and woman can earn a living wage, so every old person can end their days with honor and security from danger and want.”

Walter T. Richardson is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in South Miami-Dade County and chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at Website: