God’s Reconciliation and Restoration

We know we are in a global health pandemic but even much more disastrous we must admit that we are in a cultural and national pandemic because we are in a spiritual endemic.  We have stood at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (just as Eve and Adam did) and we’ve eaten from it and called ourselves “god” and defined things as we wanted them to be…and we are seeing the results all around us! 

Respect for the law and every human being comes only with humility, and that humility comes only when we see that law rooted in God and every person created in His image. But too much of our nation’s reality has been controlled arrogance, not humility: arrogance that we don’t need the God of our fathers and founders. Those on the left have convinced too many that our answers lie in politics, their secular humanism and moral relativism. The result is the destruction of life and property that true law, adhered to by true believers, protects. Only return to eternal truths will save us.                                                                                                    Star Parker

We must make changes across the board but none will be successful or fruitful if we do not make them in line with God’s Divine design and order!  It must begin with the individual!  Then we move to relationships that best develop in healthy marriage (as God designed it) and family!  When we have healthy individuals and families we can join with other families to form good communities, including our churches (which, quoting several pastors over the past week, have failed miserably) to deal with Sin and the sins in our lives and culture!  Systems then are a result of Godly, healthy people, relationships and communities!  While we must hold the following accountable, change does not begin in the White House, courthouse or schoolhouse,! It begins in your heart and house and in my heart and house, just as God designed it!

We must stand against evil and for justice in His Truth at all levels!  I’m not coming down on either side politically, my goal and heart is to come down squarely in line with God’s Word!

The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are.  Hebrews 4:12  “The Word of God is the sword that cuts first in me and then in others.”  Oswald Chambers

Think about this…Jesus prayers are always answered exactly as He asked them because He was always one with The Father.  If we are not working toward and part of that unity as He prayed then we are not His disciples and Church.  I’m speaking to all my brothers and sisters in Christ…we must see first and foremost from a Biblical worldview not media, government, science or anything else!

…that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.             John 17:21

Beginning with His Word we must PRAY!  This is to His Church… If…My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. 2 Chron 7:14 God help us!

I spent much of my teen and early adult life as teammates and friends with many black players, spending nights and eating meals in their homes, enjoying our fellowship and friendships, counting many of them my friends to this day. 

I know for a fact in my own personal life that there is hatred and the byproduct of “racism” (actually only one race according to Bible – human race…that’s where the problem begins…my brothers are me and I am them in God’s Creation) as it is part and parcel of our fallen human nature. 

I can tell you straight up that several times I have been in a crowd where black or brown skin color was threatened, looked down upon and demeaned (I was included because I was friends with and part of the group).  Other times I was excluded from the hateful words and actions simply because my color was white.  I hated all of it then and I hate it now!  And while I’ve seen and experienced it on a very small level, I have no idea what it’s like to live on an ongoing basis with that angst or fear nor do my children. There has been tremendous strides made but there are many left to take and it needs to begin in Christ’s Church!

However, we must be diligent and discerning not to espouse rhetoric in the heat of emotion and the moment that does more damage than good…adding to the problem rather than working to solve it! Simply put we must be prayerful and careful how we approach and reiterate the stories, studies, apologies and realities.

The research and numbers do not bear out that there is “systemic racism or injustice.”  The media tells us that nearly everything is rooted in hatred and injustice as they enflame the issues and agendas portraying only their select and worst situations.  I’m not leaning on either one of those as to whatever degree it exists, according to their reports or agendas, unless you have seen it and lived it neither of those truthfully bears witness.  The numbers may say it doesn’t happen.  Tell that to a young black boy/girl walking home through a neighborhood where he/she “does not belong.”  The media says it’s rampant and blows it up, then turns around shows all the wonderful things that happen between good cops and communities of color. 

I can tell you this though, systemic problem or otherwise, it exists in our systems and communities because they are made up of people!  I do know we have a people problem… we have a heart problem!  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. (Matthew 15:19) When we choose to judge someone by the color of his or her skin, which happens all the time, we’ve got a problem.  While it shows up in systems and communities, it does not begin there and will not ultimately be solved there.  It begins in my heart and yours and in our relationships!  That’s why we as Christ followers must lead the way by faith in action lived out in loving relationships.  We have the solution…Jesus!

As Christ followers, we must respond first and foremost in Truth and do so in Love and Grace (Ephesians 4:15)!  Don’t let the media guide you, don’t let the numbers guide you…they may inform you but they may conflict and confuse as well, so they should never lead you… LET THE TRUTH AND LOVE OF CHRIST LEAD YOU!

We must pray for all our leaders starting in our homes, churches, communities and government, as we all try to graciously love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31) and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21) – these are the foundations for any and every good relationship…WHICH MUST INCLUDE INTENTIONAL OUTREACH TO THOSE WHO LOOK DIFFERENT THAN US!  Recall Jesus answer to the synagogue leader who tried to justify himself after Jesus replied to his question about the greatest commandment.  It was the story of the Good Samaritan. Samaritans were the “hated minorities” to the Jews.  Jesus point… your neighbor is the one who acts in love regardless of ethnicity or skin color!

Blaming and looking to the system and demanding change at that level first, and/or only, allows us to avoid the hard, tough work that must be done in our own hearts!  Real change has to occur…in our hearts and relationships.  Only then will we see change in our communities and systems…that’s how God designed it to work and no amount of systemic amendments or pressure (much needed) will change that.

These problems can’t be solved at the systemic or community level alone, although there is need for change that must be addressed.  They must be solved at the personal (heart) and relational level and that responsibility God has given to His Church, His disciples, and seeing the cultural failure we need to own up to it and repent.  That’s where reconciliation and restoration always begin!  It’s desperate! God’s calling His people to wake up and get to it!

I pray that our churches and leaders will repent, teach, disciple and model this change on the personal and relational level and help hold one another accountable in obedience to His standard!  Then we can train up loving servant-leaders to impact our communities and systems for His Kingdom and Glory!

Again, communities and systems are simply products of the people that constitute them.  Any or all systemic injustice, racism, sexual immorality…sin, is always a result of the brokenness and hatred of the individuals that make them up!  As we align with Christ’s Truth on authority, love and servant-leadership in loving relationships, will we see real change…Individual>Relational>Communal>Systemic. 

 I saw this text recently, “The problem is sin not skin, & the answer is grace not race.  Jesus died for all of our sins. Our nation needs him during this time.”  Any problem with another person’s skin color is not their problem.  The problem is in my heart!

We must remain faithful to His Word and be careful not to jump on any bandwagons of emotions, “heat of the moment” reactions, media, and political or other agendas, as they tend to do more damage rather than bring reconciliation and healing.

His Love and Lordship is the answer but it must truly be His and not our cultural or personal revisions…or we find ourselves right back to the Tree of Knowledge!

God’s divine design always starts in the heart of the individual and in relationships. Fail in our hearts, homes and relationships, and no amount of community activism or government can change that. The latter two may control, coerce, or force the issues but can never change hearts! Heart change is what must happen!

This (racist) ‘DNA’ problem is called sin by preachers and cannot be altered by government programs. If it could have, it would have by now.  A changed heart is key, something government lacks the power to achieve.                 Cal Thomas

That’s why we as His Church, His disciples must stand strong in Truth and Love.  2 Corinthians 5:17-21 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  We are to help reconcile and restore loving relationships among believers as His Word commands us to do. In this way we can show His Love to all people at all times.  We must work with all ethnicities and especially our black and brown brothers and sisters at this time and we must do so knowing that Christ alone has the answer.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:1-2

Christ alone can break down the walls of hostility! All other attempts have been, and will continue to be, temporary at best and self-serving at worst.  He is the only One who changes the human heart. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. (Eph. 2:14)

Love and Lordship came about through God’s teaching and prompting me on these very issues and our failure to address them according to His design and order. 

The following is a brief outline of where we must begin according to His design…

Truth sets you free (John 8:31-32) and Jesus is that Truth (John 14:6).

Love – (Mark 12:29-31) expressed in humility, a servant’s heart and authority as His disciples (John 13:1-5, 12-17), lived out in our lives in a priority of relationships that will develop community and systems and bring the needed change.

Jesus teaches and models authority – Matthew 20:20-28; John 13:1-5, 12-17.

How can you do these things with those in your life, in your community and those that look different than you?  That’s where it begins!

We should not only be working toward unity among our brothers and sisters, it must happen because Jesus prayed for it and died to make it so!  We can make it so in His Truth, Love, grace and power!  As Christ followers we are the ones who should lead the way into Unity!

I’ll finish where I began, in God’s Word…that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.             John 17:21

Remember…The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are. Hebrews 4:12

Let that Sword cut first in me and before I ever point it to others.

That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.  I Corinthians 2:5

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Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Bigorty and “racism” (ethnic or skin color prejudice) exists because of sin in our lives, individually and collectively.  Christ is the only One that can forgive sin and therefore the only One that can change our hearts and culture.

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) – Intentionally reach out and connect with someone whose skin color is different than yours to build a deep and lasting relationship in The Lord.  Begin by listening.  Seek The Lord in prayer for this.