When Lawlessness Abounds

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I am a child of God (John 1:12; Romans 8:15-16).

I’m going to write this post assuming that you can say the same. {If you can’t, perhaps today is the day of your salvation! Perhaps today is the day that has been chosen for you to be born into the family of God. And if it is, I pray for the grace of God to grant you the faith to believe and to receive your new life in Christ.}

Since I am a child of God, this is my identity. I am not Christian-plus-Caucasian. I am not Christian-plus-Irish. I am not Cajun-Christian. While I honor and celebrate and appreciate certain aspects of the cultures which God has chosen to knit into me, I am not defined by them. Nor do I hold an allegiance to them that outweighs or contradicts my allegiance to the Kingdom and family of God.

Galatians 3:28 declares my liberation from any identification which would segregate me from another brother or sister in the family of God, and which would cause me to lean into a loyalty to my own culture that would cause me to dishonor my new Kingdom culture.

While I am free to be who I am, being who I am must not draw a line between me and my neighbor in Christ, nor between me and my God Who has created me after His own image. Whatever cultural lines I may have had were erased by the bloodline we have all been adopted into. So now there can be many cultures in one family, and we can celebrate and embrace each other’s differences.

I am going here because of what is taking place in our nation today, with riots and violent mobs tearing through cities across America in the name of “justice.” Retaliation has become a weapon in the hands of angry men and women, and our country is captivated by the emotional tornado that is destroying property and lives wherever it goes.

I am not writing to share my opinion. Opinion is part of what has given this tornado its destructive strength. Our own personal lenses have magnified this into a force that is becoming unstoppable.

I am writing to remind the people who belong to Christ that we have a responsibility to uphold truth in our responses. We are alive in the earth to frame everything we witness through the lens of the gospel, and to respond accordingly. We are here to glorify God in how we think, speak, and live, even and especially when we face unjust tragedies.

That being said, because we are children of God above and beyond all other things we may be, we must be led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14), and not our flesh (Romans 8:5-8) as we respond to injustice. Our responses must not look like taking matters into our own hands, but rather turning to the God Who calls us to do justice, or to act justly, with humility and great love (Micah 6:8; Isaiah 58:1-8).

This should be our first pause when responding to the unnecessary murder of a man who didn’t deserve to die. While we hate the murder, and know that God does, too, we must remember and align our hearts with the truth that God loves the man who committed the murder, and created him with the same hope and promise that he poured into the life of the man who was murdered. Both are sons in God’s eyes.

This does not make the murderer guiltless. This does not justify his hatred or his sin. But this is the gospel truth. For God so loved the world  (the world which, at that time, hated and rebelled against Him) that He gave His own Son (His own self), so that no one would have to perish for their corruption.

While we can – and should – mourn over the life that was lost and the family that is suffering because of it, we should also mourn over the soul of the murderer that is still lost, and that God wants to pursue with the same forgiveness you and I have received.

Loving murderers is hard. It offends our hearts. But the truth is that if we are going to be outraged over the murder of an innocent man who could not breathe (and we should be), then we should also be outraged over the millions of unborn children who never had the opportunity to take their first breath….whose voices could not be heard. And over the prostitutes who have been shot and killed in dark alleys and on abandoned street corners. And over the prisoners who have been mobbed and suffocated in violent riots because of racial discord. God is broken-hearted over the blood of one and the same, and our hearts should be feeling the weight of all of the sorrow for all who have died unjustly.

If I am brave enough to frame this through the gospel lens, then I become the same kind of murderer that our nation is wanting to crucify. And so do countless others. Whether we have committed murder with our hands, our choices, or even our hateful words or thoughts (Matthew 5:21-22), we are all brought down to the same level: without God, we are wicked in heart and capable of the worst atrocities against others. We may not choose to carry out what we are capable of, but it is in us. And for that, we must take responsibility, and also find compassionate identity with the man whose sin was publicly exposed.

I cannot justify or overlook the murder that has been committed, any more than I can justify or overlook the murders I have committed. In my condemnation of another fallen human, I must see my own fallen capacity, and I must extend the same mercy I have received. Not because he deserves it, but because neither did I.

This will not go down easy, I know. But if I am a child of God, truth must overrule emotion when emotion is staging an uprising. Ultimately, as we walk with God and grow in maturity as a son or daughter, emotion learns to submit to truth in reverence, not begrudgingly. God gave us the gift of emotions, and His Spirit can cause our emotions to lead us into His will, where the enemy would use them to excuse us from God’s will.

The final comment I want to make concerning the madness we are seeing is that we must remember to frame these events in the context of Scriptural prophecy. We must go to the Scriptures for wisdom, and there be reminded that God said these days and these events would come. Not as part of His plan, but as part of the unraveling of the world that has chosen its own way. And in the midst of the fallout of that rebellion, God has reassured us that He is still present, still working to fulfill His own plans for those who trust Him.

In Matthew 24, Jesus told His followers that they would see people become offended, betraying and hating one another. Deception would be rampant, lawlessness would abound, and cause the love of many to grow cold. We are living in the unfolding of these words, and we must recognize that what’s taking place is part of what has been written down for our sakes. If we are ignorant of this, we will be led along by our emotions, and caught up in the mob of the enemy’s last days story. If we are wise to this, we will seek God’s wisdom in our responses, and be led by His Spirit in our choices.

What does love look like – burning hot love, in this moment? If we turn to Scripture, and if we turn to the Holy Spirit, it looks like grief that weeps with the broken and oppressed. It looks like entering into God’s heart, with all defenses and personal opinions and affiliations laid down, and feeling the weight of the pain of rebellion and hatred and  wickedness. Not for one life, but for all of humanity.

It looks like loving God so deeply that our highest priority is connection with His heart, so that His love can pour through us in a way that supernaturally loves others – even those who are our enemies. Even those who do unimaginably horrible things.

It looks like faith that is moved to compassionate action and finds ways to do something helpful in the face of what is not helping at all. It looks like a commitment to fast and pray, not just until this storm subsides, but until all of our nation (and all of the world) sees the outpouring of the Spirit of God.

It looks like blessing those who are cursing and being cursed. It looks like making peace where violence is raging. It looks like declaring truth where people are running mad with deception and can’t see the light because of the darkness that is reigning in their souls. It looks like not excusing ungodly responses, and upholding Godly ones.

It looks like laying down our differences and choosing to see what God sees in EVERY man, woman and child. And then acting accordingly.

I can’t convince the world to stop the madness. But I can choose to submit my life to the One Who has the right to be the most angry of all. It is God Who created George Floyd. He knit him together in his mother’s womb. He had a story for him. And if God, Who has been the most robbed, has chosen love and mercy, and commanded the same from me, I can choose to not join the madness. I can choose what God has chosen, and I can enter into His ways and I can love and pray and serve and believe Him to bring the kind of change that my ranting cannot.

Dear Woman of Breakthrough, Dear Brother in Love, be possessed by the Holy Spirit! Be led by Him. Be convinced by His truth, and stand in your God-given identity as you respond to injustice. Do something, yes. But as you do it, remember that this is a moment in a much bigger story, so let what you do be motivated by the Spirit of God in you.

Please, don’t join in the lawlessness. Recognize that lawlessness has an agenda, and that agenda is to snuff out the flame of God’s love in you. There is a grave difference between raising a flesh-driven outcry, and crying out for God to move in and through and on behalf of you and those around you.

In this very critical hour, may we see this event in the light of the gospel narrative, and may we remember who we are, and Whose we are, and act accordingly. The enemy’s agenda may masquerade as unified resistance of what is wrong, but in the light of truth it is exposed as deadly division aimed at resisting the authority of the Only One Who can bring any kind of real and lasting peace. We must be wise, and we must be humble as we respond.

May you seek the Lord, today and always, and may your every word and action be led by Him. It is our only hope, that the sons and daughters of God would be unveiled in this hour, rising in the power of the Holy Spirit to release the Kingdom of God in the earth.

{Photo images courtesy of http://www.pixabay.com}

 


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