I hear a lot of talk these days about getting people together.
“We have to connect. We have to learn to appreciate one another. We have to lay our hatred aside and come together. We can’t afford any more of being torn apart.”
I appreciate the sentiment. In many places, tensions are high. People are angry. Frustrated. They feel marginalized. Left out. Discriminated against. Demonized.
Pick a group. Any group. And you become the target of someone’s contempt.
Black Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. All Lives Matter. It doesn’t matter.
Everyone seems to be up in arms about something or somebody – and every group gets so singularly focused on their particular issue that there is little chance of seeing anyone else’s view. When all we can see is our own viewpoint – there is so little common ground.
But… “we just need to get people together.”
In our current cultural climate that may just be a bit like bringing together gasoline and a flame. I think that is the lesson we are learning by what we have seen in Charlottesville VA. People got together alright – and their anger for each other won the day.
Everyone is talking about the mess that is our current state of affairs – and the profound storm that we see brewing in our country. It seems that everybody knows there is a huge problem… we just don’t really know what to do about it.
Can we be brutally honest? We are reaping what we have sown over the last fifty years. As a society, we have largely kicked God to the curb, proclaimed that He is dead (Time magazine; April 1966); pronounced Him irrelevant (because we now have science to reveal the secrets of the universe); made Him optional (for those who feel they need faith); and largely ignored His commands and His truth (the Bible is often seen as some antiquated and out-of-date book).
In short, we have found another god to take His place – and we are him/her/it.
Whenever The God is removed from the center of our attention, all we have left is our selves. And when our selves get hurt or offended or feel we are mistreated in any way, we get frustrated, upset, and angry. And when we are stewing in our anger, all we need is someone (with whom we don’t agree) to cross our path and we are like a bomb ready to explode. We are practically looking for the detonator!
Until we actually deal with what is causing our anger – all that getting together will do is provide a room full (or street full) of potential trouble.
Hate is never cured by anything human beings can do or say.
Only God can change a heart – and turn it from self-centered to others-centered. Only a deep love for God will ever restore a deep love for other human beings. Only when we value others, as God values them, will we ever overcome our own narrow viewpoints and begin to see other people, not as enemies to be confronted, but as potential allies against all injustice and inequity.*
When God turns a heart to Himself – hate becomes a fading memory.
Prayer Focus: God, help me to see people as You see them… and to never give a foothold to hate.
*(By the way, this goes for “Christians” as well. Whenever any Christian fails to love as Jesus loved, we fall into the same humanistic patterns and solutions that everyone else tries – with the same ineffective results!)