As I sit here on a Friday afternoon I take a quick look at the news headlines:
Politically, there are Special Prosecutors, accusations of double standards against President Trump, accusations of Double standards in favor of the President, Democrats against Republicans…Immigration…Economy…Taxes…you get the idea.
In other news, there’s graphic video of the violence in New York City which has hit very close to home, in Portage. There are assaults on Police, there are trials in which is seems as if Police who went way over the line have only received a slap on the wrist…there’s division within families and turmoil, protests, and so on.
Internationally, there are countries like Venezuela, Brazil and Greece which are descending into chaos. President Trump is about to make a trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel, while tensions in that part of the world are extremely high, with militaries from many nations are very close together. It seems as though one ‘spark’ could ignite an explosive situation there.
As I look through my Facebook and Twitter feeds, I see that there is conflict, stress, and controversy everywhere. Some people I love and value deeply are taking sides on these issues that others I love and value are strongly against, and arguments ensue, fomenting more division and discord.
So, what am I to do?
What are we all to do?
Sure, I could say that we should all just ‘get along’ and ‘be nice and civil’ to each other…and it’d be legit.
It’s true–the tenor of ‘discussion’ in our culture right now has taken a decidedly negative turn, and we’ve forgotten how to ‘discuss’ things respectfully, and how to ‘agree to disagree’. So yes, we should all ‘chill’ a bit and stop attacking those who disagree with us as though they were a special class of moron who does not deserve the respect that we, on ‘our side’ do. I could encourage love and respect–for the good of our families, our nation, and our world…and I’d be right.
However, I’m going to be honest with you: This is one blog in which I am specifically talking to those who claim to be Christ followers. If you’re reading this right now and you do not view yourself that way, you are certainly welcome to keep reading, but you need to know that I’m not talking primarily to you.
See, we who call ourselves Christians are supposed to think and act differently.
I’m not simply saying that we should be ‘the nicest’ and ‘get along’ the best.
I’m talking about living with eternity in mind, focusing on the things that will last…forever!
Let’s be honest: Most of the things that I listed at the beginning of this blog–the things that we’re getting all worked up about and have driven wedges into families, marriages, workplaces, etc.–those things–they don’t measure up.
They will not last.
Let me simply remind my fellow believers in Jesus of a few things:
“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
So, fellow Christian: Is the stuff that you’re arguing about…and the way you’re arguing about it…measuring up to that?
How about this?
1st Peter 2:11-12:
“Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.”
Don’t get me wrong: I know that the issues going on in our world are important. I know that God has, in His sovereign wisdom, placed you and I into a country in which we have a right, and a responsibility, to influence our political leaders, policies, etc.
I’m simply saying that we–as a general rule–have ‘bought in’ way too much to our here-and-now controversies, rather than to living with the eternal kingdom of God in mind.
And that’s a mistake…of Biblical proportions.
Instead, I believe that now–here in the midst of our drama–is the time for the Church to rise above the noise and to SHINE like never before! In fact, I believe that is precisely God’s charge to us in this time of global turmoil and individual drama.
As the world gets darker and more tumultuous, the ‘bride of Christ’ must shine more radiantly.
If that is going to happen, we must ‘push back from the drama’ and get our minds and hearts right. This means that prayer, worship and the word of God must become our focus again. We must be ready for things to get worse…and to take that opportunity, in the power of the Spirit, to point people to Jesus in how we live.
Here’s the thing: That will never happen as long as we get mired in the chaos of the here and now!
God is working out His plan…and a big part of that plan is for His people, the Church, to shine!
In the Eye of the Storm, remember: HE is in control!
Live like you believe it!