It’s out of control. And there’s no sign of it getting better. Everyone is on edge. Everyone is scared. Everyone is looking for someone to blame. So the preverbal “finger pointers” are stabbing in every direction. And yet the actual problem is being ignored. The problem isn’t black people or the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The problem isn’t white officers or white people. The problem isn’t guns, or gun control laws, or lack of gun control laws. Are we really so blind that we can’t see the real problem here? Let’s stop beating around the bush; the problem is a godless society. We are seeing the tragic, rotten fruits of a society that is living in darkness (Galatians 5:19-22). Few are focused on God. Few look to His word for guidance. And until something changes, the problems will continue to get worse.
It’s hard to remain balanced in the swirling storm of biased opinions and raw emotions. So, what should the Christian’s response be? Here are 3 responses Christians can have to help clean up the trash dump this has become:
- Take Out The Trash. Ephesians 4:31 gives us a clear whiff of the trash we’ve been smelling, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” First, there are tons of bitter feelings across the board, which is a large part of the problem. Toss the bitterness in the trash. Second, so many are angry and wrathful. Put this anger in the garbage. Third, the word for “clamor” means to shout with a harsh voice and the word for “slander” is the same as “abusive speech.” There is no doubt we’ve been seeing plenty of loud, harsh, and abusive speech. This behavior belongs in the dumpster. Last, but not least, “malice,” which is basically doing things with evil intent. Scripture makes it very clear, “all” of this needs to be removed. Not just one side, or one type of people, but everyone needs to get rid of this filth in their lives.
- Sanitize Everything With Kindness. As Ephesians 4 continues, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted…” (32). So much of the response and emotion pouring out is being done through fear, frustration, and anger. There is an obvious lack of kindness throughout so much of this discussion. A wise person once said, “If you aren’t kind, you’re the wrong kind.” Kindness translates to soft, gentle words and actions. As the wisest man who ever lived once said, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Oh how desperately we need soft, gentle, and kind reactions right now. They would do a lot to clean and sanitize this problem.
- Stop Bring The Trash Back In. Ephesians 3:32 goes on to say, “…forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Lots of people have been wronged across the board. The problem is, very few people are actually letting things go. Few are practicing forgiveness. 2,000 years ago, no one was more wronged, abused, mistreated, and innocent than Christ as He hung on the cross. In some of the remaining moments of His life, Jesus uttered the words, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). The less we forgive today, the more sin will grow to need forgiveness tomorrow, and the harder it will become to forgive. In other words, the more we seek revenge, the more sinful actions will pile on to the mix. As long as it’s up to us, let’s stop bringing the trash back in the house and just forgive each other. After all, the Lord will without a doubt, punish those who are truly guilty. “‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). No one will go unpunished. So let’s stop bringing the filth back into this situation.
It’s time to change our response. It’s time to clean up the cesspool this situation has become. #PoliceLivesMatter is not fixing the problem. #BlackLivesMatter is not solving the issue. #AllLivesMatter, now that’s getting us towards the right focus. But I think even this slogan can improve. See, it’s not just lives we’re talking about here, it’s souls. People’s very souls, their eternal destinations, are at risk. Let’s not just be focused on their lives, but also their spiritual conditions. Let’s stand behind the slogan #AllSoulsMatter and use Ephesians 4:31-32 as a guide to our responses.