On any given day, the “News” only brings more heartache and pain. America, France, Turkey, the Middle East – news of endless carnage, unimaginable pain and utter chaos. It’s clear humanity has become desensitized to the ‘sanctity and divinity’ of the human life.
In light of the recent debates here in the US, sparked by the shooting deaths of two African American men at the hands of police officers, followed days later by the slaughter of five police officers in Texas by a deranged gunman, and yet another ambush of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisianna, many are taking to various media outlets to voice their opinions and vent their frustrations on both sides of the conversation.
One thing is clear - there's a problem, and we needs to find answers.
As a nation, we need to address the cause, frustration and concern of social injustice, the unjust criminalization and unfair penal system against minorities, racial profiling of law abiding citizens, the social and economic roots of poverty within certain communities that leads to hostility, and also the degeneration and disregard for the authority of our police officers. While these are all legitimate concerns entrenched in hurt, misunderstanding and mistrust, it does not justify violence in any way, shape, or form. It also helps to understand that people’s experiences, environment, and perceptions, shape their reality, and while the fact exist that perhaps some of us were born, or not born into certain social, economic and cultural privileges, these factors fester the complex divide.
With that said, the loss of life is always painful. Violence is never the answer, and the unjustified killing of both our police officers and citizens alike is heartbreaking.
Amidst all the conversations, I can’t help but wonder “What is God expecting from the church in this hour?”, “What is God expecting from the Christian?”, and most importantly “What is God expecting from me?” How can I personally get involve, bridge the divide and offer healing to a broken world?
I believe ‘real solutions, progress and change’ will come when we personally and individually take responsibility as an ‘Agent’ of change, and adopt ownership of ‘Change’ itself.
We have to make it PERSONAL.
Until 'change' becomes a personal conviction, no one will truly take the initiative to understand what people are feeling, and why they are feeling the way they do. Our highest ideal for change, however noble, will not combat the evil prevalent in today’s society without God’s intervention through a mobilized church.
As much as it great to generalize our support one way or the other, it’s easy to hide behind the 'crowds' position rather than to personally get involve. We can have generalized conversations of “What can the Christian do?” or “What can the church do?” but the danger with this, is that it overshadows the most effective point of change, and that is by not asking the right question of “What can I do?” It’s easier to believe it’s someone else’s responsibility to be pro-active, but in keeping it honest, everyone is expecting something to be done by someone else, missing out on the fact that God is expecting participation from each of us in this hour.
As I seek God on my own personal involvement, I’m reminded that God is the greatest example of the power of ‘personal investment,’ and what it means to bring healing and lasting change. Phillipians 2:6-7 says “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” God’s plan of salvation could have been executed from afar, but He knew His personal touch would speak louder than words.
Should we not adopt this example as well?
Hebrews 4:14-15 says “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus knew that getting into the trenches with us, relating with our pain, and sympathizing with our frailties, was the only way He would be able to show us the way out of our hopelessness and despair. His disposition as ‘man’ and ‘minister’ during His time on earth always involved His personal touch. If Jesus took the time to empathize with those that needed healing, how much more do we need to do the same for others?
As a 'Carpenter and Spiritual Engineer,' Jesus was and still is the 'Master' of building bridges. He knew how to bridge the cultural and racial divide by having one conversation with the 'Samaritan woman at the well' – John 4:1-42. He bridged the economic divide by having dinner at Zacchaeus’s home in Luke 19:1-10. He shattered and leveled the religious barriers of that day by extending acceptance and mercy to an adulterous woman as she stood at death’s door ready to be executed by the hands of her accusers – John 8:1-11. He broke the social divide while being anointed by a woman’s perfume in Mary’s alabaster box – Luke 7-36-50, and again, as He touched the ostracized Lepers in Luke 17:11-19. Above all, He bridged the spiritual divide by grafting us sinners into God redemptive plan – John 3:16-17.
So what is the heart of the problem?
Jesus was surrounded by many of the issues we are facing today, but in the midst of it all He summed up the core and heart of the problem then, as it is now, in Matthew 9:12-13 “When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance!” We are reminded that God is all about redeeming our souls and bringing us into a right relationship with Him. God’s personal touch and care is all over the Gospels, and perhaps it's here we can find the revelation of how our touch can also heal the world if we would personally invest our time. At the end of the day, across the spectrum of divides, it’s the human soul that matters and God desires mercy from us to reach them.
Can you imagine a world overflowing with mercy? I believe things would look very differently. This is the very heart of God as He puts in Micah 8:6 "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy , and to walk humbly with your God?"
In this hour, it’s important to understand a few things:
Trial and Tribulation is promised - The Bibles tells us this world will offer us “tribulation” but through His power we can overcome John 16:33. It also speaks of the hardening of the hearts of men in the last days 2nd Timothy 3:1-5. We should not be dismayed but trust that He is in control of all things.
We are not at war with each other – Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our battle is ultimately fought in the heavenlies against principalities and powers who rule with darkness. Please remember who our real enemy is. The battle has and always will be good against evil for the souls of men.
There is power in our prayers – Ephesians 6:10- 11 and 6:13 – tells us how to fight in prayer and the posture we are to take in battle. Be relentless in prayer, be stedfast in trusting God, and secure yourself in the armor of God.
God promises His Intervention when we intercede – 2nd Chronicles 7:14 – God will intervene as His people pray. He promised He would.
We are called to be participate – James 2:14-26 – As we pray, God expects us to put our faith into action. Ask questions from your local body of fellowship regarding avenues and opportunities available for you to make a difference. Get involved.
We are called to persevere in all things with love – 1st Corinthians 13 – Love should be our highest ideal. Love truly will conquer all hate.
So what does it mean to "love mercy?" God's divine scale of "mercy" measures our lives very differently than we do. God is interested in our “Spiritual Weight” rather than our “Spiritual Agendas.” In His eyes, activity doesn’t always mean progress, motion doesn’t always mean momentum, and numbers doesn’t always mean success. I believe if we really see what God sees, and hear what He hears, mercy within and outside the body of Christ would be administered so differently.
Our prejudices and judgemental ways would be filtered through the mind of Jesus Christ. Our thoughts of each other would be read through the scars in His hands and feet. Our motives behind our actions would constantly be washed in the blood of Jesus. Our character would be sifted through the stripes on His back. Our decisions on a daily basis would be washed in His tears. Words spoken about ourselves and others would be seasoned with love, kindness and compassion rather that brutality, pride and ego. Our wealth would be measured by our ability to forgive and when possible, forget. Our spiritual maturity would be measured by our love for God, our love for solidarity within the Body of Christ, and our ability to elevate and esteem others above ourselves. Above all, our purpose in life would be measured by how much of it we gave away and invested into others regardless the cost.
Mercy isn't a handout that we pat ourselves on the back for giving out. It reminds us who we are - a sinner in need of a Savior. This world is crying out for His touch. Let Him use your hands.
The change we want to see will not come from us cheerleading from the sidelines. It requires us getting in the game. How are you investing your life? When you jump onto God’s scale, what does your spiritual weight look like? Never underestimate the value and weight of your personal touch in someone else’s life. It just may heal the divide and change the course of History.