What Do We as Christians Do?
We are currently living in some very difficult times. They are not unprecedented, as the world has seen pandemics and riots before, but they are still difficult. The Lord laid it on my heart that I needed to share how the Word of God speaks of our response. I was able to make this into a video devotion on Facebook but wanted it in writing as well, so I decided to put this up as a blog for anyone who may need this.
The first thing we need to address is that followers of Christ should not hate. Let’s look to the Bible to speak to us…Matthew 5:43-48, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Then we read in 1 John 2:9-11 & 4:20-21, “If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness…If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
There are many people who fall on different sides of all that is happening in our world, Christians and non-Christians alike, who have different views of the protests, the riots, the pandemic, politics, and so on. Wherever a person falls, whatever a person believes, we are not to hate them. Hatred of other people should not be in the Christian’s vocabulary. I (Jason) am a conservative, I support law enforcement, I think the rioting, theft, and destruction of property is wrong and is a crime, even though I support our First Amendment rights to protest (along with all the other amendments), I support and pray for our president, and I pray for all our political leaders, even if I disagree with them. I have friends who are Christians and have different political views than I do, but I do not hate them. By the power God provides we must banish hate from our lives. I know this isn’t easy, but it is what we are called to.
Second, there is no race in the Kingdom of God. Again, let’s have God’s Word speak to us. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In Colossians 3:11 we read, “In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.”
The reality is that race is a human construct that is not biblical. We are all one “race” the human race. We actually all have the same skin color, brown, now my wife is a very light brown, I am little darker brown (because I have been spending a lot of time in the sun), I have Asian and Hispanic brothers and sisters who are a little lighter or darker brown, and then I have friends of African descent who are a lot darker brown. But this is simply a matter of the amount a melanin in our skin, it has nothing to do with who we are as human beings. We are all created in God’s image, and we will never meet another human being whom God does not love. Therefore, we have to move away from this human construct of “race” and realize we are all people, created in God’s image, and then treat one another accordingly. I am not saying we should ignore ancestry, or ignore the fact that we look different on the outside, or ignore our different cultural heritage. What I am saying is that we should love and embrace one another, and refuse to hate or judge based on something as trivial as the amount of melanin we have in our skin.
With these biblical truths firmly in hand, what do we as Christians do? How should we respond? There are four things that I think are important for us today and moving forward.
First, we must not give in to fear. In Isaiah 41:10 God says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” We need to trust God, know that His presence and strength is with us, and that He is working on our behalf. The best advice I can give is to turn off the news, ignore the filth that permeates social media, and turn to Him instead. I am not saying we should be uninformed, I remain informed without feeding off of or listening to the fearmongering and hatred that is spewed out by the media, and so can you.
Second, we need to pray. We read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which says, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” Being joyful and giving thanks to God no matter what is going on is part of His will for our lives. But so is ceaseless prayer. Pray, pray, and pray some more. Read the Word of God and turn it into prayer. Pray for yourself, for your family, for your neighbor or coworker, pray for your city, your church, our nation, our leaders, pray for law enforcement, pray for the rioters, pray, pray, pray, pray, pray; and when you think you have prayed enough pray some more. Prayer and the Word of God are the weapons that God has given us in the Spiritual war every Christian is part of, unleash those weapons and see God work mightily in your life.
Third, Shine! Matthew 5:13-16, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” God has placed us here, in this time, to shine the light of Jesus that lives in us by His Holy Spirit to a dark and dying world around us. We as believers are not meant to hide from all that is happening, instead we are to shine the light, love, and hope of Jesus into a world that desperately needs Him!
Finally, Love! Matthew 22:34-40, “But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 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.” Love God with everything you are, and love your neighbor as you do yourself. How do we love ourselves? We take care of ourselves and make sure we have what we need physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We love our neighbors by doing the same thing. Ultimately, the greatest way to love our neighbor is to share the love of Jesus with them so they can have the same hope and life that we do in Him.
As I close, I don’t want to belabor any of the points I have already made but I want to say this. As believers we have a hope because of Jesus that others may not have. We know that God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us. We know that Jesus rose again proving that He is God and that He has the power to conquer sin and death. We know that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. We know this and have hope because of it. We can look at the times and know that Jesus is returning (I won’t venture a guess as to when) but we know that He is coming back. We also know that people in the world are scared, angry, frustrated, brokenhearted, and are experiencing many other valid emotions with all that is going on. In all of that, we have the answer, we have the hope for a future, we have the way, the truth, and the life that people need in Jesus. We cast off hate, we cast off judgement, we embrace love, and we share the light and love of Jesus with the world around us. To His Glory!
Image Borrowed From Clipart-Library.com