Now What Do We Do?

29 Aug

In Charlottesville, North Carolina the scab was ripped off America. The ugliness and pain of pride, prejudice, and hatred buried beneath it broke out and bled before us. The about-timers worked to squeeze the last bit of infection out, creating more anguish and pain. Deniers saw the squeezes as the source of the pain and not the wound itself. Their response followed basic animal instincts. An animal caught in a trap will attempt to bite the one working to set them free when efforts cause more pain.

A Proven Alternate

Surrounded by this news and social media frenzy, I sat awed by the testimony of one man. He has a collection of KKK robes and Confederate flags willingly surrendered to him by those who once hated him for no reason other than the color of his skin (see http://bit.ly/2xsFNYW). His secret weapon to disarm his enemy? Friendship. Daryl Davis meets them where they are. Spends a little social time with them. Then he asks, “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me? Look at me and tell me to my face why you should lynch me.”

Brotherly love shown them through continued contacts turned their disdain of him into shame on themselves. The love he extended returned to him. What a great lesson!

Old Wisdom

Of course, it’s not a new lesson. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” (NKJV). It’s a tough lesson to learn, though. The stronger sense of right and wrong a person has the harder the lesson is. That’s me, I know. And it’s probably why Davis’s testimony impressed me so much. He is a living example that God’s word is true.

On the heels of all this, I opened my Bible and began to read in 1 John. In case I had entertained the thought that Solomon’s exhortation was limited in its application, Jesus corrected me in John’s letter. Consider these verses (my paraphrase):

I want to put your mind at ease so you can experience fellowship, friendship, and love with us—and not with us only, but with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. With it comes a joy unimaginable. I know it to be true because I saw and touched Jesus after He rose from the dead. I watched Him ascend into heaven. Eternal life is real. (1 John 1:1-4)

But there are some who take the relationship with Jesus lightly. They think they can weigh their good deeds against the bad and if the scale tips to the good side, then they are okay. Listen up! There is no darkness or shadows in God; He is light in perfection. Darkness can’t abide in Him. Don’t think you can slip into that light holding onto dark thoughts. Either you are a liar or you make him out to be one. It’s a losing proposition. (1 John 1:5-10)

You may be thinking, “But I have accepted Jesus into my heart. I’m made clean and righteous in His eyes.” That is true—not only for yourself, but His mercy and grace is for everyone in the world. All can be in that grace. (1 John 2:1-2)

Here’s the issue: anyone who says he is in the light but harbors anger, bitterness, revenge—in short—does not have love toward his brother (neighbor, co-worker, boss, a rude store clerk, etc.) harbors darkness. That darkness blinds them and causes them to stumble. The most basic commandment from the Lord is to love. He gave no qualifiers. The love can’t be split between loving in the spirit but looking to get even in the flesh. Love in the spirit and in the flesh. Showing less than love equals breaking His commandments. It’s the difference between light and darkness, speaking truth about being in Him or lying. (1 John 2:3-11)

Bandage Cover-up or Healing Balm?

Forces are at work to divide America. God’s people have separated themselves from one another over many things through the years, creating hurtful splits in congregations and much disputing, blaming, and harsh judgment. Now these forces are putting even Christians into one of two camps, depending on the issue. It’s time for believers to return, not in theory but in practice, to the two greatest commandments summed up in John’s letter. Remember, we have been called to reconcile—to be peacemakers. Those across the ideological divide are not our enemies. They are the ones Jesus died for. He loves them even if they are against Him. We must, too.

Thank you, Daryl Davis, for being an example.

One Response to “Now What Do We Do?”

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  1. I Blew It | Boosterclub Blog -

    […] This Is Important This all happened before my last blog: Now What Do We Do. In fact, this experience helped me write that blog. I realized how many opportunities to be a […]

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