1 Peter 4:8
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
There is no denying that we are living in a time of unrest. People become afraid, and fear produces anger and hatred. However, Christians are called to look beyond the circumstances they face, and draw strength from our faith and the Lord, whom our faith is founded upon.
The Christian is called to live in rest, but when circumstances are threatening, it is easy to have our minds drawn out of rest, and then take the burden upon ourselves that we were never intended to carry. What’s more is that when we try to work, it becomes an act of the human flesh, which is always opposed to the work of God.
We can see this clearly through the responses that many well-meaning Christians, who try to fight for what they believe, but instead of resolving the problem, they begin adding to it. There is an old country saying, “Don’t wrestle with a pig in the mud. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.”
The world likes living in hate, spreading hate, and justifying hate. Sadly, I have seen many of my Christian friends joining the problem instead of living by a higher standard. Scripture teaches us that the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are mighty in God. When a man or woman of faith forgets this, they step outside of God’s power, and are operating solely in the flesh, where there is no true power.
When the world around us is caught up in chaos, it is the opportunity for the world to see the difference between the world and the life of faith. The problem is that when a Christian does not believe God will do, we push Him aside and try to do for ourselves. Then instead of creating good, we add to the madness.
Consider the world’s reaction to the racial unrest we see today. Though there have been several incidents that built the tension, the trigger point was a corrupt police officer pressing his knee on George Floyd’s neck until he passed out, and eventually died. Nearly everyone was outraged at the clear abuse of power, and willful murder of a man handcuffed and powerless. It was the last straw for many in the black community, so this triggered violent reactions across this nation.
Soon after, videos began to surface of white people being assaulted. Some claimed it was justified because people are angry, even though those being assaulted were not involved in the assault of Floyd or any other incident. The other day, a video was posted online of a black man and his daughter with their car being surrounded by a group of white wannabe vigilantes, who singled them out only because of their race.
Both sides are escalating the problem and feel justified in this behavior because they are afraid, angry, and feel they need to retaliate for the wrongs they perceive the ‘other side’ is doing.
That’s the world’s way. But should this be the church’s way? On social media, I have black friends posting perpetual anger and even encouraging their black friends to join the fight. I have white friends who post about injustice and brag about arming themselves and preparing to fight. What’s worse is that these are coming from people who are Christians. They post Bible verses one moment, and follow it with very anti-Christian hate speech.
Being a Christian does not mean that we do nothing. The question is, what is the ‘something’ we are supposed to be doing? Rarely does the world witness someone who believes God and is willing to stand up as a witness instead of as a party to the problem. God does not use rage, violence, and hate to accomplish His purpose. He uses faith founded upon His love.
Consider the legacy of Martin Luther King. How many words of hatred and violence did he deliver in his speeches and protests? Not once did he preach violence and hate. He truly believed in the Lord and stood upon his faith. No person in American history accomplished more than he did, and he did it on the platform of returning love for hate. And Martin Luther King lived in an era of violence, segregation, racism, and unrest. He showed the world the difference between the voice of hatred and the call of love. Because of this, he accomplished more than any who came before him or since.
According to the Bible, the enemy came to kill, steal, and destroy. All we must do is look at the result of our actions and ask, are we promoting the enemy? Or are we walking by faith. Faith and love build up and edify. Fear and hatred destroy.
God uses opportunities like these to show the world the difference between the life of faith and the world.
As Christians, we can’t take it out of God’s hands and expect positive results. According to Romans 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The real question to the Christian is, do you believe God? Do you really believe in the life of Christ as you claim? Or do you trust in yourself, hatred, and discord? You can only trust in one side. If you are in Christ, He gives clear instructions on how to respond to the world’s ways. Look at Luke 6:27-28
27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28 “bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Do you believe God. Do you believe that love can overcome a multitude of sins? The Bible says that when we do good to those who hate us, it heaps coals of fire on their heads. Hatred heaps the coals on our own heads. Not only that, if we can’t bless our enemies, then God will not bless us or our efforts. Yet according to Jesus, when we put our trust in Him, not only does He transform the world around us, but He greatly blesses us. Look at Luke 6:35
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
The evidence that you are sons of God is shown by your love. Anyone can love their friends, but only those born of God can love their enemies and transform the culture around us. Just as by one man’s action, chaos spread to many. By one believing Christian, peace can take root in many.
Are you a son of God, or a child of disobedience? In case you are unaware, the Bible uses ‘son’ as a position of inheritance. Jesus made it clear that in God’s kingdom, there isn’t male or female. We are all sons, kings, and priests. It is not based on gender, but faith.
As a son, you inherit God’s reward. As a priest, you are the minister to the world around you. As a king, you carry the authority of God within you. A child of the kingdom does not get drawn into the chaos and join the world’s methods of fighting. A child of God stands in rest, knowing that they have the authority to be the change in the world, influence the culture, and become a blessing that shines as a light to the world.
Or we can toss aside our royal priesthood and become lost in the crowd of the world, living like the world, acting like the world, and showing no difference between us and those who trust in the methods that destroy. A Christian who acts just like those who have no hope also has no positive influence.
We have many examples for us in scripture. Each time someone takes things out of God’s hands, it causes grief and hardship. However, those who wait on God and walk by faith ALWAYS see God do great things.
When people become fearful or anxious, this is either overcome by praying and waiting on the Lord, or they put their trust in fear and step out of God’s plan and never see His salvation. When God doesn’t act on our time expectations, this is a test of whether we trust in Him or our timeline. Those who turn aside never experience the power God was preparing for them to experience.
Those who wait patiently and rest in the storm will never be put to shame. The question is, do you really believe God? If so, you will found every decision on faith, hope, and love. And as the Bible states, the greatest of these is love. Love overcomes fear. Love overcomes sin. Love overcomes hate. However, we must allow love to work in us first, and then through us. Your greatest battle is not allowing yourself to be drawn away from His love. You must be drawn away from God before you can be drawn into the chaos.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” Not only is it the Christian’s responsibility to avoid being drawn into the world’s battles, it is our ministry to become peacemakers and instruments of healing.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
We are called to stand, not wrestle against flesh and blood. We are called out of the world. Live like a citizen of heaven. Love your enemies, don’t join them in the mud.