After a year like no other I think we’re all looking for better this year. Enough is enough, right? There were so many issues. One right after another, on and on. No need to review the long list of very troubling and very painful issues. But here’s an issue to me that’s more troubling than the issues themselves, and that’s how we as Christians responded to those issues. We were certainly touched by most of the issues. Our lives were affected. Some of us lost love ones. Some lost jobs, some lost their homes. It rained on the just and the unjust. We all were affected. But that’s not the issue. The issue is not whether or not we, as Christians should have been affected or not. The issue is how we responded to the issues. A world-wide pandemic by definition transcends geographic, economic and cultural boundaries. The measures put in place by local, state and federal governments in an effort to control the virus were just as impactful as the virus itself.
How do we respond as saved people? The social unrest that led to riots, fires, business burned to the ground, innocent lives lost, property damage in the billions of dollars, also touched all our lives. How did we as save people respond in word, deed or in the content of our heart? And what about the racial divide, and Black lives matter? How should African-American “Christians” respond to all that? Haven’t we had enough? Shouldn’t we as minorities be fed up? Don’t we have a right to exercise our rights and hit the street just like everybody else! But we’re not supposed to be like everybody else. We’re saved. We love Jesus Christ. Jesus, and He is not just our Savior, He is our Lord and Master. Our life is not our own. We have no rights. We surrendered our rights.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the line many of my brothers and sisters in Christ seemed to have lost sight of that. The issues are real, painful, complicated, complex and in many cases hit home with all of us. There is no question that Christians have been just as deeply impacted as everyone else, just as moved, just as hurt, and just as conflicted. But God! God is our strength and our foundation. The world doesn’t have a relationship with God. God is our strong tower. The world does have not have that protection. God’s great and precious promises, forever settled in heaven, unbreakable and irrevocable are ours. The world does not have God’s promises to provide for them. So, at no time should our response to all these issues match the response of people who don’t know God.
We have God in our lives and we must not allow whatever the issues are to cause us to lose sight of who we are and whose we are. Our relationship with the Son of God far exceeds all racial relationships, all economic, political, gender and all other relationships. As such, our response must be grounded in and led by our love for Christ and his Lordship over our lives. We stand for “the truth” of Jesus Christ. We hate no one, other than Satan and all he represents. We don’t hate those who hate us. We love them and pray for them and bless them. The weapons of our warfare are mighty through God. We love all races, all political parties, all men and women everywhere. This is what is means to serve Christ. We pray for healing and we ask for God’s guidance on how to be a blessing to others. The issues are not the issues. The issue is how we as people who have been healed, delivered and saved by the love, mercy and grace of God respond as such to the issues.
Do you know who you are? Of course, you do, right? Our identity, more specifically our self-identity is very important. Most of us spend a great deal of time, money and effort trying to project a certain imagine because we care so much about how others see us. That’s a subject for a different day. Today, the issue is who do we think ... we are. What is our self-image of ourselves? There are many things that shape our self-image, including of course, how we feel others see us. Our childhood plays a part. Our education plays a part. Our success and failures also play significant roles.
Each of us are multidimensional and multi-faceted. No one word or one thing can accurately capture who we are. We are complicated people. From a political perspective, are you a democrat, a republican or an independent? From an economic perspective are you considered among the wealthy, upper middle class or are you somewhere towards the lower end of the spectrum? From the ever-expanding gender perspective how do you self-identify? What about race, are you Caucasian, Afro-American, Latino, Asian or possibly Bi-racial?
For the Christian, the individual who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, how does all of this influence our self-image, and shape our view of life and of the world? If we look around at current events, we cannot help but see a world in disorder. There is an awfully long laundry list of things that are dominating the news and social media and right in the middle of it we find brothers and sisters of Christ.