What turbulent times we’re living in!
Wars, natural disasters, terrorists, nuclear threats.
Disturbing. Sad. Even frightening.
The challenge today for followers of Jesus is to keep from getting swept along in the mayhem. But how do we keep from getting distracted? I’ve heard it said simply: keep your eyes on Jesus.
As a follower of Jesus, we want to obey Him, obey His word and His teachings. We want to “remain in Him” and to have His words “remain in us.” There are so many instructions in the Bible – for those who read it, I’m sure you’ve noticed this. So how do we pick and choose which ones to follow and which are not necessarily key to right living?
Some say we don’t get to pick and choose. And for the most part, I’d agree. But those same people are usually the ones who try to prove their righteousness, or religiosity, by obeying the law – God’s law and the laws of society.
But didn’t Jesus really turn all of that on its head?
He said there are really only two commandments: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, AND Love your neighbour as you love yourself. According to Jesus, these two things encompass all of the law and the commandments.
That brings me to something that has really gotten under my skin today.
As the people of God, we are to love, love, love. Love each other. Love God. Love our enemies. (I’m not going to quote the multitudes of scriptures that I’ve referred to and will continue to refer to; that’s not the point today.)
Also, as God’s people (and here I mean those who love God and have given their lives to Him, just to clarify) we are to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. We are to rescue those who are being swept away by injustice. We’re to care for the widows and orphans, and I think what’s really meant by that is those who are suffering and in need. We are to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.”
How does any of that lead anyone to think that we are to stand idly by (or even worse, cheering) while human beings, those made in the image of the God we love and serve, are mistreated, humiliated, enslaved, or made to suffer needlessly? And do that in the name of “obeying the Word of God.”
My dear brothers and sisters (those of you who say you love Jesus), do not think for a moment that you are living as God intends if you keep silent while whole people-groups are labelled as evil intruders. When “authorities” who were supposedly put into power by God began oppressing, and then murdering, entire categories of people, the “church” kept silent. But the outraged, and I don’t know how many did or did not believe in or follow God, went to work tirelessly doing everything they could to defeat and foil the plans and actions of the so-called ruling government.
Throughout the ages, there have been people who have stood up against oppressive rulers, many giving their lives in the process, because they recognised evil when they encountered it.
Even now the deck is being stacked and the steps are being taken to silence any opposition.
Pray for our leaders; yes, of course. But at the same time, LOVE your neighbour (the stranger you encounter who is in need). Show your love for God by standing up and speaking out against evil. No matter who the perpetrator is.