Here I sit at the end of June 2020. This was supposed to be the year of focus. We were supposed to gain 2020 vision or something.
That seems laughable at this point.
It was all going well until a global pandemic struck weeks into the new year. The world shut down. Economies shut down. People died. Some feared new world order. Some feared going to the grocery store.
As we sheltered in place, some were content. Some protested government overreach. Some lost their jobs or business.
Just as the US was starting to reopen, we witnessed a man being choked to death on the street by a police officer. We watch the moment George Floyd’s life left his body. We were changed.
The cry of nation rang out.
Then the peaceful demonstrations became something else. Riots and looting erupted.
Then another man died by police shooting in an already boiling Atlanta. Buildings burned. Seattle gave up a police precinct to a mob establishing a “free society.” Monuments started falling.
I am not sure when the 2020 vision is supposed to kick in. I think most of us are feeling more confused than ever. We feel unsure, unsteady and uncertain.
So how does a Christian navigate all of this? Where do we go from here?
Love your neighbor as yourself.
This is the second greatest command for a good reason. It covers about every aspect of this season. Love your neighbor. And love her as much as you love yourself. This isn’t just the greatest command, it is the hardest.
This is where faith and obedience collide. Love the neighbor who doesn’t understand your disadvantages. Love your neighbor who feels disadvantaged. Love your neighbor who feels unjustly judged. Love your neighbor who is a socialist. Love your neighbor who doesn’t know what a socialist is. Love Democrats, Republicans, rioters and protesters. Love, love, love and then love some more.
Here’s the trick, loving people becomes a lot easier when we stop seeing them through the lens of race, politics or social position. When we recognize people for the eternal soul they truly are love will come.
Loving people comes with a great responsibility to tell them the truth.
Jesus said, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
There is not a truth for you and a truth for me. There isn’t a truth for Democrats or one for Republicans. There isn’t a black truth and a white truth.
There is one truth of Jesus Christ that he established with total authority and dominion. His teachings are what is true. That is the truth that liberates us no matter where we live or what our circumstances are.
Elevate Your Thinking
Years ago I was at a lunch with a group of Canadian preachers, discussing the legalization of marijuana with an aged, American preacher who worked most of his life in Mexico. Some of the curious young preachers probed the man for his position, probably seeking a political one.
I will never forget what his said. “Christians should always rise above the culture.”
If we are going to survive this climate and impact the world for Christ, we have to elevate our thinking above culture. We cannot become distracted by politics, legal disputes and social grumblings. We must elevate our minds and let our thoughts dwell in the throne room of God.
When we practice love, truth and throne-room thinking our steps will be guided through these cultural landmines we find ourselves navigating everyday.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2