It has been a week that has certainly made many of us think.
It began with the horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia, which sparked the inevitable media coverage on race, politics, who is to blame, and what the President should have said and done. Then came the senseless violent acts that occurred in Barcelona, Spain…
Mix those events in with the craze, semi-panic and resulting chaos over the Solar Eclipse. We even have predictions of major traffic issues in our area because of it. There are Eclipse festivals planned for the weekend, and glasses have become a hot item going for anywhere from free to $150 or higher. I’m thinking about skipping this one and waiting for the next.
Throughout the week I have watched and listened. I have prayed and pondered. I have tried to find words that would be helpful and also tried not to speak about it all. As I have reflected what Jesus might think, say or do during times like these, I finally arrived at these possibilities.
Jesus would weep with those who are weeping.
In chapter eleven of John’s gospel account, he shares the story of what happens when a dear friend dies. He already knows the facts of the event, and although He took his time in getting to them, once He did, He did the best thing anyone could possibly do: He weeps with them. He knows he is about to raise Lazarus from the tomb, but still, He weeps. Maybe it was because they were weeping. Maybe it was because He was disappointed in their lack of faith. Maybe He was weeping because they still do not understand who He is or the powers He possesses. Regardless, He came, He comforted them, and He wept with them.
Three people died in Charlottesville, Virginia, and at the time of writing, fourteen have died in Barcelona, Spain. I know Jesus would weep for and with those people. Obviously, we cannot all travel to Charlottesville or Barcelona to weep for and with those people who have suffered such significant losses, but we can weep for and with them right where we are. And, we can pray for them.
I think Jesus might say that this is not a time for hate or revenge.
Proverbs 20:22 says: Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.
And Paul reinforces this when he says, Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19, NIV)
Yes, there are times when hatred is understandable, but we may not always know best when those times are. God does.
There are six things the Lord hates and seven that are detestable to him:
Haughty eyes; a lying tongue; hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that devises wicked schemes; feet that are quick to rush into evil; a false witness who pours out lies; and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. (Proverbs 6:16-19, NIV)
I think Jesus might remind us to lead with love, not with hate.
Jesus commands us to love our enemies (Mt 5:43–44). That is very difficult in times like these because of the many potential enemies out there. He also reminds his disciples:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35, NIV)
I think Jesus might say that the world is a difficult place for good people who try to follow him, but He overcame this world, as can we.
Just like Jesus knew what going to happen with Lazarus, He knew what would be happening in our world. He knew. He knows. He can handle it…in His way and in His time.
Jesus said to his disciples, A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:32-33, NIV)
No one knows what might happen this weekend, next week, or next month. We live in uncertain times. But this does not mean we resolve to be helpless victims. We may not be able to defeat the Enemy or erase evil from the world, but we know the One who has defeated the Enemy, and in time will erase evil from the world. And we can weep with those who weep, we can stay committed to loving, not hating, we can resist the urge(s) to seek revenge, and we can trust the One who created us, bought us with His blood, filled us with His Spirit, and is in control — even when it seems no one is.
These are some of the things I think Jesus might be thinking in response to these events and times, and that is what I’m doing my best to stay focused on.
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved