Our Calling as Light

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.” Proverbs 15:18

We have entered a very unique and dark period in our country’s history.  I am not trying to be dramatic, however, I do not see us returning to life, as it was, anytime soon, if at all.  It all started with a worldwide pandemic of the coronavirus in the early part of 2020.  Because of this, there was a national shutdown that closed a vast majority of our economy.  And it has only been since a couple weeks ago that our economy began to open up again, along with major changes in how we conduct business.  It is sad to say there has not been a segment of our economy that has not been touched in a negative way.

There is much I can say regarding this period of time.  For instance, the desire to defund the police force and replace it with social workers, mental health advocates and homeless charities. Can you imagine the increase in crime that would result in cities where this would occur?  Also, the formation of ‘Autonomous Zones’ where the protestors can take over a chunk of land and control it, not being subject to the governing authorities that are actually in charge.  However. there is an overarching issue that is defining this time, and that is division.  Granted, there has been divisions since the time of Adam and Eve, when Cain was upset that Able was given what he saw as preference and ultimately killed him.  From that time, differences among individuals has been a part of human existence.  Other examples are Jacob and Esau, Joseph and the other sons of Jacob, Jesus and the Jewish Leadership.  You also have Judaism and Islam, conservatives and liberals, democrats and republicans, rich and poor, black and white, male and female, and the list goes on and on.  And unfortunately, until Christ returns, there will probably be no end to the division in our world.

To be honest differences, in and of themselves, are natural.  There is nothing wrong with having different views.  For instance, in football I pull for the Seattle Seahawks where others may prefer the New England Patriots.  Some people may choose the Blues as their music of choice, where others will opt for Country Western.  The point is their is no problem with differences of opinion.  The issue is how we respond to those differences.

I have been watching the news on a regular basis to keep informed of what is happening.  What I see is a severely fractured society where the two sides have taken polar opposite views.  And since neither can or are willing to accept the views of the other, we have a severely fragmented culture that is showing itself in rioting and violence. Politically, the left is generally siding with the protesters, accepting anything they choose to do as warranted. The other side believes in the people’s right to protest, but staying within the boundaries of the rule of law.  And, finally the news industry has taken sides as well; the liberal press staunchly with the actions of the protestors while the conservative press sides predominantly with peaceful and lawful actions.

With all this said, what should be the Christian response to this predicament?  We see this in the book of Proverbs.  “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute.” Proverbs 15:18.  It does not come right out and tells us how to act, but it does lay out the results of both possible actions.  First, a hot-tempered person stirs up strife.  This is something that absolutely must be avoided.  All it does is create barriers between ourselves and the ones we are conversing with.  We will probably not win the debate, and we may damage the relationship we have in the process, such that we may lose the ability to speak into their lives.  Therefore, the wise thing to do is to keep a good attitude, presenting out views in a calm manner, keeping our good and amiable relationships.  This is important because we need to keep a solid Christian witness to the world.

Paul wrote to the Church in Ephesus the following. “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29.  We need to be watchful of the words that leave our mouths for they speak volumes about who God is and who we are as His servants.  We need to be, at all times, careful as to what we say, and how we say it.  He then follows up with the following, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32.  We must be careful not to speak anything that can cause division.  We can say what we believe, but in an attitude of love and caring, that shows His love to a world that desperately needs to hear about it.  This should be our goal in all conversations: to share the love of God to all people, not to win an argument or put down the views of another.  We may not be able to change their beliefs, however, we also do not want to close the door to God’s message of love and salvation.  Which is more important, winning a argument, or winning a soul to Christ?

Always remember. our purpose here is to spread the salt and light of truth.  “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16.  This is why we are here.  And if what we do creates division and strife in the lives of people, we can end up pushing them away rather than guiding them to Christ.  Yes, there will be hatred, anger, and violence in this world; unfortunately we cannot avoid it because Satan is spreading it throughout all around.  However, let us have no part in it, but instead, spread the message of peace and love to all we meet.  And then trust God that in so doing, He will work through us to do His work here on this earth.

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