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Unorthodox Activism
Photo: Alex Furr
I remember being fascinated by the story of a Chinese anti-smoking activist who traveled to Hong Kong.  Once there, he routinely grabbed cigarettes from the mouths of unsuspecting locals in the business district.

The Ming Pao Daily News ran a picture of the activist, 44-year-old Zhang Yue, as he snatched a cigarette from the mouth of an elderly man. Apparently, Yue had been crisscrossing Mainland China for several years, visiting 69 cities, plucking cigarettes from the lips of startled smokers.
If you are a smoker, perhaps you’re outraged by such an affront. On the other hand, maybe you’re an anti-smoking activist yourself and you are raising three cheers for Zhang Yue at this very moment! Although his methods are certainly debatable, Yue’s heart appears to be in the right place. You see, his activism is fueled by the death of his 26-year old sister from brain cancer, an illness Yue suspects was caused by inhaling their father’s cigarette smoke. In his own rather questionable way, Yue is attempting to prevent further cancer related deaths from smoking.

I can’t help but compare God’s methods to Zhang Yue’s. As much as the Almighty loves us, God rarely snatches from our mouths, or our grasp, that which is not good for us. You see, our Creator has the utmost respect for our freedom of choice, even if our choices are sometimes self-destructive, physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually.

As Jesus wept over Jerusalem because the city refused to accept Him, God weeps when we make poor choices that produce disease, heartache or havoc in our lives. Yet, our Creator holds back, self restrained from crossing our boundaries, ever respectful of our God-imbued free will given to us at birth.

Rather than using force, God pleads with us in the most loving way to give ourselves over completely, so that the Almighty can change us from the inside out. When that day comes, we gladly begin to relinquish the things that are hurtful and destructive in our lives, not out of fear or intimidation, but from a heart full of love and gratitude to God for all our Creator has done for us.

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By Kathy A. Lewis. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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