“Because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.”
Kind of fits today, doesn’t it? I see a lot of “love growing cold” these days, turning to the other extreme: hatred. Far too many mass shootings; far too many shootings by and of police; far too many Facebook posts that are little more than vicious attacks. From all sides. Especially this political season.
Yikes. Here’s another quote:
“Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your officers who have saved your life today … for love of those who hate you and for hatred of those who love you. You have made it clear today that commanders and officers are nothing to you…”
Too many people think this way about our men and women in blue today. Shootings of police are almost a (tragic) daily ritual now.
“Commanders and officers” also could represent “leaders,” especially political and military leaders. The shoe still fits. I wish it didn’t, but it does.
Here’s one more thought for the day:
“Those who plan good find loyalty and faithfulness.”
Makes sense, doesn’t it? If all involved benefit from the plan, then “everyone” will jump on board and support it. Right?
So then, how do we define “good?” No easy answer for that one.
Three quotes that fit modern times, especially in the United States.
All three come from the same source. And because of the source, some of you will instantly reject those quotes outright. That’s how judgmental we’ve become in this country.
The messenger, not the message
Who speaks matters more than what the speaker says.
It doesn’t matter what Donald Trump says this week. Democrats will reject it.
It doesn’t matter what Hillary Clinton will say next week. Republicans will reject it.
It’s been that way for years, actually. Democrats love their speakers and Republicans love theirs, and never the twain shall meet (Rudyard Kipling).
Their actual messages are lost. As a country, we’ve stopped listening.
The controversial source …
Those three quotes? I hesitate to tell you where they came from.
One of the most controversial books ever written. Some of you will stop reading right here because you reject the source.
(For the record, the references are, in order, Matthew 24:12; 2 Samuel 19:5-6; and Proverbs 14:22.)
I’ve heard some people say that Christians are the most judgmental people on Earth. Wars have been fought over Christianity. That’s true.
But Jesus did not come here to condemn us. He came to save us (John 3:16-17). The Bible includes plenty of stories of people who got it right. We tend to focus on those who didn’t.
Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., which was one of the protest groups outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week, does not represent Christianity. At all. It’s a hateful, judgmental “church” that picks and chooses which Bible passages it wants to preach. It gives Christianity a bad name.
We don’t need to be judged. We need to be encouraged. Most of us, anyway.
The Bible offers plenty of that, if we’ll take the time to check it out.
Why are we so afraid of that?
Respect, not judgment
I’ll share one story from the Old Testament that, again, fits in very well with today’s political climate.
David was a young boy who killed Goliath, a giant, in a very famous story. He then was anointed king – while the current king was still alive.
That king, Saul, was not impressed. He wanted his son, Jonathan, to be the heir to his throne. God said no.
Jonathan was amazing. He supported David rather than his father because God chose David.
So, God doesn’t always pick the obvious choice.
But David is the central figure here. Saul is jealous. He wants David dead, so his son can become king.
David runs away and hides in caves, attempting to stay alive. Saul chases him all over the countryside, trying to capture him and kill him.
The king is David’s enemy, right? You’d think so.
The Bible is full of surprises. Not contradictions, but surprises.
One time while Saul was chasing David, Saul stopped to go to the bathroom. Yes, that happened in the Bible. He entered a cave to do his duty. Little did he know that David and his band of rogue supporters were holed up deep in that very cave.
David’s men whispered to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand’…”
David’s response? He stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak to prove later that he could have killed the king, and let him go.
David said this: “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’s anointed, to raise my hand against him, for he is the LORD’s anointed.”
While David did not respect Saul – after all, Saul wanted David dead – he respected Saul’s position. Saul was king. That was good enough for David.
If only we, as Americans, respected the office of the President of the United States the way David respected his leader, no matter who holds the seat …
Those who hate President Obama need to take notice here. And whomever wins the presidency in November should receive the respect the office deserves – whether we agree with his or her policies or not.
The office of the president itself is “anointed.” I wish America understood that.
David got it. This story is told in 1 Samuel 24. Don’t take my word for it. Feel free to read it yourself.
There are far too much lawlessness, shame and pure hatred going on right now.
In the words of the old children’s song, “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me …”