As I sit here this morning determining what God would have me say in this blog I am surrounded by thoughts of the hatred that is sweeping our country. I am saddened and sickened by the direction of our country. We can blame it on this or that but ultimately I believe it stems from two primary sources.
The primary issue is that our country has turned its back on its spiritual roots. God is being forced out of the discussions we have in society. God is no longer allowed in what most consider to be a rational discussion. The answer for our country is simple and clear . . . revival. A turning back to Jesus Christ is all that will ultimately heal our land. Now, this is not to say that our nation has ever been one where everything was done in the name of Christ. It is not, but we have reached the point where Christianity is often seen as not the answer but in reality many see it as the problem. Religious fanaticism has been laid at the feet of people of faith. In some ways this is indeed our own fault. We, as believers, have not lived out our faith in a consistent manner. As someone said to me yesterday, “we grew up being taught by songs . . . ‘red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight’ and yet we go home and we don’t live that out.” Many times it is lukewarm Christians who have given the gospel a bad name. The only real hope we have is for authentic believers to step up and begin impacting their world for Jesus Christ. In an effort to keep this brief I will move on.
Another primary source is that it seems like our default response is hate rather than love. Our default is to turn to violence rather than to peace and love. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Scripture teaches, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27) and “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8) I’m as guilty as many out there and God is working in my heart. My default is often not as loving as it should be. But I have decided to live intentionally and do my best to let love rule in my heart. I want to respond with love instead of hate and anger.
Our hearts go out to those police officers who were killed in Dallas, and especially to their families. Jim Denison suggests that we have three options on how to respond. But the last option he mentions is obviously the only one that makes sense. He says, “We can decide that we must do whatever we must do to keep our past failures and present divisions from becoming our future reality.” In other words we must be willing to change. The problem is not just going to go away by burying our heads in the sand. It won’t go away by responding with hate. We have to change our thinking. For some that is very difficult. My father was raised by a racist father and it was something he struggled with his whole life. I reacted against that and have tried to live my life loving everyone regardless of race. I have tried to instill that in my children as well. We are all human beings and God loves us all equally. Romans 12:17 reminds us, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.”
Thanks to all who came out to our church picnic yesterday. The heat actually wasn’t bad at all and the food and fellowship were amazing. Congrats to Judy Walker for winning the best ice cream award!! Thanks to Jason Ferguson and Scott Evans for cooking and organizing everything!