Based on few recent discussions I have over the last few weeks, I realize that I have a problem I need to address.
When I lived as a pagan, the things that pagans did seemed normal to me. I had no issues with how things were going and even participated in a few.
But, when you leave that life behind, put away your old self, give your life to Christ, love and follow Him, those things that seemed OK, no longer seem OK. What I used to consider “normal”, has now been brought into the light and exposed for what it really is. I guess that is part of how the Holy Spirit works. To convict me of my own sin, show me the truth, and to help me recognize the evil that lurks around us.
As Isaiah 5:20 reads:
those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
I think those words are more true today than ever before.
We’ve kicked God out of our schools. We’ve kicked God out of the family. We’ve kicked God out of our decision making. We’ve kicked God out of our Government. As Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York recently said on the house floor “Mr. Stuebe, what any religious tradition ascribes as God’s will is no concern of this congress”
When I look around and see everything that is going on, I am very troubled. There is a line from a song that we sing in Church, I can’t remember the name of the song, but I remember the line….”Break my heart for what breaks yours”.
My heart does break. But for me, that manifests itself into anger.
In fact, I get so angry with the un-apologetic actions and words of people in the culture and leadership that I identify with the disciples in Luke 9:51-55:
"As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them."
But I keep going back to verse 55, “but Jesus turned and rebuked them”.
While it would be very helpful for me to know what Jesus said, I can assess that this is not OK J and that is not what Jesus wants.
If Jesus allowed fire to be called down from heaven over the last 10-35 years, I would have been swept up and destroyed as well. But He didn’t, and I am thankful for His grace.
But why didn’t He? I believe that it has everything to do with 2 Peter 3:9
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
So then I am led to examine my heart and attitude towards people who knowingly reject God or knowingly sin against Him.
It is easy for me to put myself in the position of the Pharisee as in Luke 18:9-11
"To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people— robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector."
Why wouldn’t I want the same thing for them that someone once wanted for me?
So here in lies the problem. I honestly do not feel I am above the tax collector. Nor do I place myself above the people who rejected Jesus in that village. It is easy for me to look down on those who are not following Jesus. But I am always in need of forgiveness and will never truly “arrive” until I am with Him. Until then, I have to continue to rely on His grace not only for me, but for those who do not follow him.
It’s not about an agenda. It’s not about protests, riots, group think, movements, stats, theories or change in leadership. None of this will help any of the issues we are facing. The only thing that will make any real difference is God. People have to turn to God and submit themselves to His authority. It’s a matter of the heart.
I can only pray that He will continue to work on me and change me. I can only assume that somebody must have been praying for me back then. To ask God to change my heart towards those that anger me.
Don’t you just love new Christians? Always acting like these things are new? Like they are providing new revelations? We’ll it is new for me, and I will strive to make it new for others if I can. While I will never be in a position to make a difference like I would want, I can show others what God has done for me and pray that someway, somehow He will directly or indirectly show them who He is as well.