Washington DC. Lies and injustice. Minnesota and Baton Rouge. Ignorance and injustice. Dallas. Terrorism and injustice.
In addition to the travesty of a public election process that we have been subjected to, we were reminded again last week that we are not as civilized as we think. The difference between living in a Third World country and living in the greatest nation is supposed to be measured by dollars, by food, by convenience, by freedom. But how much freedom do we really have when the second a tragedy occurs it is instantly made into a political agenda item? How convenient is it for a black man to be tried with a bullet instead of a judge? How much food will it take to fill the hole at the family table when five officers never make it home for dinner? How many dollars does it take to paper over the fact that there are cracks in the foundation of our national narrative of greatness?
I understand that we don’t have all the facts yet. I understand that we must be patient with the investigative process. I understand that many don’t want to think about these things. But I do not understand any believer who is unwilling to face the facts that we are living at a time of incredible injustice and incredible pain in our nation.
A candidate for the highest office in our country was revealed to have broken the law and yet will not face charges. And there are those who will say that I am being overly political for calling that injustice. Two men were shot, one for reaching for a concealed carry permit and another for carrying in an open-carry state. And there will be those who say I am anti-police for saying that a black man should expect a chance to at least explain himself. 12 policemen were shot by a terrorist sniper. There are those who will say I am anti-blacks for grieving their deaths. Why does everything have to be political or racial? Have we lost the ability to simply be pro-human? Has the church been so influenced by the political narrative that we cannot mourn injustice, whichever side of the aisle it affects?
But let’s not stop there. Recently, in pulpits and in papers, there have been calls for social activism. There is a deep sense, amongst believer and unbelievers alike, that we have to DO something. So people jump on Facebook and rant about corrupt politicians, all while supporting the opposing, also corrupt, politician. There are staunch defenses of the right to bear arms, a “you can take my gun when you pull it from my cold dead fingers” tirades. There are subtle and not-so-subtle racial epithets thrown around. There are all kinds of words spilled out of the desire to “DO” Something, to SAY something, or, more likely, to BE SEEN as doing something or saying something.
Is our response to the latest injustice governed more by our political affiliation or our Lord’s salvation? Are we seeking to dedicate our lives to a 240 year old document or to the God who reigns from everlasting to everlasting? Are we proud to be a Americans but failing to live as Christians? I spoke with someone this week who said, Americans love their rights, but what rights does a slave have? And that is the issue. To be Christian is not to be a more sanctified American: it is to be a slave of Christ. It is to gladly forfeit rights in order to serve the cause of a master. It is to not seek a city that can be shaken, but to seek one that cannot be shaken. It is to reject reliance on any source of security (guns, politics, rights) other than God.
I preached from Isaiah 59 this past Sunday in response to the events of the week leading up to it. Isaiah 59 tells us…
…that God is not unaware of what is going on.
…that we are not any better than the liar, the racist, or the terrorist.
…that the proper response to injustice is not political posturing but lament and humility.
…that one day all wrongs will be made right by the mighty hand of God.
As Christians, our primary responsibility is not cultural crusading. The Moral Majority tried and failed. Our responsibility is to share, declare, and live the good news that there is a kingdom that looks nothing like this one, an eternal kingdom, ruled by a righteous king. But in the course of that declaration of the gospel, we need to recognize that sin has warped not just individual hearts, but national hearts as well. We need to proclaim the gospel far and wide because no one else but a Righteous King can restore an unrighteous slave and nothing but a Kingdom of Righteousness can overcome a kingdom of darkness. We have to trust in the triumph of God’s righteousness, the establishment of His justice.
Our trust is not in ourselves, not in political change, not even in fixing every injustice of this world. Our trust is in the Coming King who will set everything to right, the Redeemer who will mete out justice and mercy, who will squash rebellion and restore the broken, who will break the proud and raise the humble.
What is required of us, Christians?
To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
To be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to anger.
To declare the infinite glory of a King who is Righteous, to speak of a Kingdom that is faultless, and to revel in the joy of your Master.
To love God, love others, and make disciples.
Come Lord Jesus and rule our hearts, our lives, our kingdoms…fix us, because we sure can’t fix ourselves.