Tuesday, August 16, 2011
(day forty-eight) the world is watching
Justice and unity have been heavy on my heart the past couple of days. Every time I turn on the news or walk down the street I see acts of injustice and disunity. Most of my recent conversations have been about these very things. Sometimes it's subtle; like when a look of disappointment or disrespect is given because someone else didn't live up to their expectations. Or perhaps it's as evident as a homeless man passed by without a word of kindness or a look of acceptance. This world is FULL of victims of abuse, neglect, abandonment, rejection, judgment, and hatred. Every victimizer is one of them... and I wouldn't doubt you have probably been hurt once or twice in your life. As a believer, in the freedom of Christ, we can miraculously worship and love from a place of victory despite the pain. Why then do we often still judge others for being different, not believing "our truth", or living "worldly"; rather than LOVING them to the place of freedom? Jesus never had to "prove His point" to the worldly crowd, instead He lived the point of the very gospel He died for.
Sure the bible is very clear on sin- that it not only breaks the heart of our Father but exposes us to the ploy of the enemy. Jesus plainly teaches us to KNOW what is right and live according to the truth; but never ever does He tell us to build separate churches because we can't agree, or live on a certain side of town because it's too dangerous over there, or to only give homeless people money if we know they are buying food with it, or to not go into the bar because someone we know might see us, or to not build community with people outside the church, or to be RIGHT. We are to simply know what is true and live it. Why on earth can't we live out the gospel TOGETHER in unity with our community (christian and non)???
When I travel around the world with a team of 6-8 people we MUST have unity to make it. We are under all kinds of attack out there and the enemy loves to try and get us against each other. He knows that if He can break us apart, he can also destroy our representation of Christ to others. If family bound by the love of Jesus can't stay together, then what makes it real and appealing to the world? I always would say that it's more of an injustice for us to not treat each other with the up most respect and love than most of the stuff we were witnessing out there in the broken suffering world. It's time we get this right.
Can we forget about "being right" for a moment and come together for a greater cause? I truly believe, that if we CAN (with His power of course), we will not only see revolution in the body of Christ becoming unified but true revival across the world. Everyone is watching us. They all have their reasons for staying at arms length from the church. (Sadly the world sees more of what we don't believe in rather than what we do). Let's not give them one more reason to run away, but show them every reason to run fast towards the One person that loves them more than anything else in the world.... Jesus.
Tonight I saw the movie "The Help" with the women of my family. You better believe it was an emotional roller coaster. I laughed, I cried, and at times wanted to punch someone. Wouldn't you know that the very themes I caught from the film were justice and unity? I tearfully watched black maids being stepped on, talked down to, disrespected, and dishonored. I shamefully witnessed white folk victimize these women and sadly realized the same women had been loved poorly themselves somewhere along the line. You see, there is only one enemy and he will do everything possible to tear God's children apart; Christian brothers, different colors, and separate statuses. Here's the thing: to God every human being matters. If we believe He created them, they matter. YOU matter. It doesn't make a difference to God if someone is wealthy, poor, black, white, homeless, crazy, sick, healthy, or wrong. He cares about them all, He cares about us all... HE is the one who makes us righteous, not us being right. He's not intimidated by our journey, but He loves us through it. OH GOD, that we would begin to see the world through YOUR eyes!!!!
There was something special about the black church community in the film. EVEN though they were the ones that were being treated poorly, they were being taught to LOVE the very person that hated them because of their victory in Christ!!! They learned that God is the one who ultimately will defend them and presently care for them. There was unity among their community because they knew the truth and lived it. These people gave me a new passion for injustice- to bind up the enemy, love the brokenhearted, and to see REAL freedom in peoples lives! They reminded me again that EVERY single person matters to God and should to each and every one of us; no matter where they came from or where we think they are going.
Yesterday I had a friend give me the book "The gospel according to Jesus" by Chris Seay. I picked it up for the first time tonight and read this quote by him: "The reason we are not living in the light of life that real Christianity ignites is that we have ignored, distorted, and misunderstood the gospel according to Jesus....We have a problem, and we must look again at the teachings of Jesus and seek the truth with our lives. Correcting our misguided assumptions is meaningless if we do not hold this truth in the forefront of our hearts, minds, and lives. What Jesus was saying was that... righteousness was not just about tallying our rights and wrongs, but about a way of life in which people were called to justice and mercy and holiness all at the same time."
I see inspiration in these words. I see determination in my friend who drove all the way to Florida last week to read a book to a girl who would never understand it and would die the very next day.... all according to the gospel of Christ. I see hope because of my mom who answered a phone call from a women today who is trying to escape a life of slavery. She loved on her and prayed for her... all according to the gospel of Christ. I see justice when I watch my friends travel across the globe to defend the poor, heal the sick, and feed the hungry...all according to the gospel of Christ. I see fearlessness when I listen to stories of those who go into bars and clubs every night to sit and listen to the pain and bring light and hope.... all according to the gospel of Christ. I see unity when 3 churches come together in Jonesboro to worship the same God in the basement of a friend's house... all according to the gospel of Christ. What is God's heart prompting your heart to do with His gospel?
B90: (Proverbs 29-Song of Solomon 3:11) Tonight I think it'd be cool to focus on one of my favorite passages. When you meditate on something it's good to read it several times slowly, then sit and reflect on it. I like to ask the Lord what He's trying to say to me through the passage personally, and at the same time look at what He was saying pertaining to that specific time. It's so good to take time to look deeper in the mysteries of the word for ourselves. I pray that, no matter what part of YOUR journey you are on, God will speak to you plainly through His word tonight and you will walk away with a new treasure to give away freely to the world who so desperately needs His love.
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace." Eccl. 3:1-8
The injustice of an innocent man dying for the sins of the world was an act of justice because of His love FOR the broken and suffering world. Unity begins with what we find in His arms. He rescues us and gives us freedom not because He has to, but because He loves us. Rest in the truthful words of this beautiful song... let it flow over you like a peaceful river.