I am not sure what you had planned for 2020, or what you thought this year would look like. However, I am sure that your plans have drastically changed and that things are much different than you expected. First it was Covid 19, then it was the tragic and wrongful death of George Floyd leading to the ensuing protests and unfortunate riots. We are still right in the middle of both of these events.
Navigating all of this is very difficult. We live in a culture that baits immediate reaction to current events. In fact, taking time to process, think, and listen before responding is sometimes criticized as silence or being part of the problem. Society wants reactions not responses. However, James 1:19 shows us a different way.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”
We live in a time where reaction is valued over a well thought out response, but as believers we must be careful not to be pulled into this trap. The Pharisees continually tried to bait Jesus into reaction, but instead He responded thoughtfully and in His response He got to the core of the issue.
Some of the core issues we face today are a lack of love and respect for our fellow man and the falling away from God. Jesus made this clear when He answered the Pharisees who were trying to trick Him into saying the wrong thing. Sound familiar?
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
As I have reflected on the current issues with race in our society, I have felt unable to help. I do not want to just be a voice that speaks loud and does nothing. I respect a life lived by actions more than words. My heart has been broken and convicted over racism, yet I have felt hopeless in helping my black brothers and sisters. When I see riots and looting I feel hopeless in being a part of the change. When I see justified anger over injustice turn to anger towards innocent and uninvolved individuals, I have felt hopeless in being part of the change. When I see the wrongdoing of a few criminalizing an entire nation of police I feel hopeless in being part of the change. When I see society drifting so far from Biblical truth, adopting relative truth versus absolute truth, and demanding tolerance of opinions and views yet spreading hate if that truth is grounded on the Word of God, I feel hopeless to make change. The list could continue, and in each situation I have felt hopeless.
He reminded me that in Ordinary Men we have the ability to bring change. We have the ability to impact lives through doing just what Jesus told the Pharisees to do. At our core is loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind. This is what intimacy with the Lord looks like. Also at our core is loving others by engaging in intentional relationships and discipleship. Intentional relationships require that we listen to our fellow brothers, that we walk with and support them, and fight for them when they need it most. Love rooted in Christ will overcome and unite. From that place of loving the Lord and others, we are then moved to reach people and disciple them to do the same. Societies change when brothers from many races, economic classes and backgrounds come together in discipleship.
As the Lord reminded me, He is the only hope and the only solution for a broken world. The vision He has given us for OM allows us to be more than a voice reacting or even a voice responding. It allows us to walk out our convictions, to love our brothers, and to point them to the only hope in all of this.