Hell Rejoices, People Bleed!

angerThis is not a joyous CWTW. I hope it makes you weep, drives you to prayer, and makes you engage with a problem that too many of us think is ‘about somebody else.’  It will most likely stir some resentment, too.

Her cell video when viral showing her boyfriend bleeding and dying on the car seat next to her, the barrel of a gun in the hands of a police still pointed through the window. Her plaintive wail, “Jesus, don’t let him be dead,” was so raw, so painful, my heart twisted with sorrow.  Another man lay dying on a street, shot by an officer trying to take him into custody. It was hard to any sense of what those videos showed us. There are too many ‘whys’ surrounding these deaths, which are symbolic of terrible sickness in our nation.  It gets worse! Last night, during a protest in Dallas, 5 officers were murdered by snipers in a coordinated attack that left several officers wounded. How can more violence be an answer? What would make anyone think that the way to find better justice is to murder people in uniform? Ah, friend, Hell is rejoicing. Hatred is growing. People will continue to bleed and die.

America is an angry place.
Racial issues, economic inequality, irresponsible political rhetoric, finger pointing, and anemic pulpits are plagues that are coming together in a kind of terrible storm that threatens to rip us apart.  We are forgetting that we are PEOPLE. Instead we have become groups – black, white, poor, wealthy, immigrant, native, have, have not, liberal, conservative, Christian, Muslim, Jew, male, female – it is a very long list.  Each group has its grievances; sometimes real, sometimes imagined, often blatantly exploited by the media and politicians as so-called ‘wedge’ issues. Seems to me that we are all screaming so loudly that we can no longer hear our neighbor’s cry. It is not morning in America! Hope is not strong. Tomorrow seems to have little promise for any of us.

What is the answer?
If you are reading and looking for a prescription for a quick solution I will disappoint you today. There is no one solution, no one law, that will make it better. But, I can say this confidently, Christians must stop the ‘happy talk’ on Sunday morning that allows them to block out the cries of their neighbors. It’s time to get real. We cannot let half-truths slip by us unchallenged any longer. We must risk being vilified by those who like to think that higher walls, more guns, additional gun laws, or bigger government subsidies will make it better. We need to learn to sit in silence, to groan in prayer, to try to understand the ‘other’ that we have been taught to fear.  We must name racism, first in ourselves, and then in our public policies. We must see our own greed and face our selfish pride.

And, we must stop making Jesus a slogan that assures our own sense of well-being and start to see Him as the compelling Savior that He truly is! The Gospel, that God loves us and saves us from our sin through Christ Jesus, is not just about protecting a privileged way of life. The Gospel is an invitation into the “kingdom” of God, which is to say, a radical call into submission to Him, a call to sacrificial love.

Jesus is not white nor black, Democrat nor Republican. He is Lord of all, Savior to those in faith; the Way, the Life, and the Truth. When we live under His reign, we find security  that is deep, rooted in the eternal promise of God about life, which by the way, is not about protecting our privilege or fattening our bank accounts. In that place of security, we begin to love others who are ‘different.’  Is it easy? Not by any stretch of imagination. But, we must start now.

So on this sad day, when you hear someone you love making sweeping generalizations about some other group, have the courage to speak up and ask them if what they are saying is thoughtful, true, and part of working out a solution. When someone is afraid, listen without quick answers. If someone is angry, give them an ear and pray for wisdom to become a peace-maker instead of throwing fuel on the fire. When you hear a fellow Christian offering platitudes or throwing around superficial slogans, gently remind them that “Jesus saves” may be a start, but we must do more than wave a banner.

Here is a word from the Word – “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16, The Message)

___________

God of Justice, Savior to all,
Came to rescue the weak and the poor,
Chose to serve and not be served.
Jesus, You have called us.
Freely we’ve received,
Now freely we will give.

We must go,
Live to feed the hungry,
Stand beside the broken,
We must go.
Stepping forward,
Keep us from just singing,
Move us into action,
We must go.

To act justly every day,
Loving mercy in every way,
Walking humbly before You, God.
You have shown us what You require,
Freely we’ve received,
Now freely we will give.

Fill us up and send us out!
Fill us up and send us out!
Fill us up and send us out, Lord!

God Of Justice
Tim Hughes © 2004 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055

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