Looking in the rear view mirror on the pandemic, our nation is in the grips of an even greater issue. As I continue to try to understand all the things that are happening in our country and the world today, the looming question that will not leave me is “What is the response of the church and Christians?” And that answer must come from the Word of God, not my personal hopes and prejudices. I must respond as we know how Jesus would. I realize that these are my thoughts, but my prayer is that they help each of you as you struggle to find peace and understanding in the midst of all that is whirling around us.
Immediately I am drawn to Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” God does not muddle His Words and specifically calls for me to follow His lead in my actions toward others. I must deal honestly and fairly with everyone. I must forgive others or I cannot be forgiven. I must love as Jesus commanded: Love your neighbor as yourself. I must set aside my arrogance and humbly listen to and follow His Word. I must live in a right relationship with God and others. Our justice has its roots in the very nature and character of God, and as such, God calls me to do justice and live in His love that I must extend to others.
And that is hard because I must relinquish my personal wants, desires, hurtful opinions, and hatred. It means that I am faced with the fact that I make mistakes and wrong decisions because I do not completely surrender to God and His Word. As I am prone to often say, I must not just hear His Word, I must listen closely and then act as I am called to do as a Christian. And too often I do not want to do that because it is not what I want to hear. But it comes down to this…either I believe and trust His Word or I do not. And I must believe or my faith, ministry, and life will be lived in vain. I must live and act not on what is happening around me, but on Whom I serve. I am called to build His Kingdom here on earth, not destroy it.
And yes, the Bible does call me to be a peacemaker. Matthew 5:9 says “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” It is true that I can’t be responsible for the beliefs and actions of others, but I must live my life in such a way that it points them to the One who counts.
I may not agree with everyone and everything that happens in this world, but I am called to ensure that I treat all people justly as defined by God. And to do that, I must remain open and willing to listen.
In closing, I must pray. I must pray for justice and the love of God to prevail in our hurting world. I must pray for His divine invention as I seek understanding and acceptance of things that I do not understand. And, I must pray for forgiveness for not living into His Word which I have chosen to lead, guide, and direct my thoughts and steps. May God bring peace as I seek to serve Him, love others, and live my life worthy of the name Christian.