Do you identify with the Alt-Right, Alt-Light, white nationalism, or even white supremacy? Are you part of the Black Lives Matter Movement, or do you lean more toward what President Trump termed the Alt-Left, or the Antifa? If I’ve lost you, you might want to take the time to Google some of these terms because our country has no shortage of political movements to align itself with today. This is not say that a cause is not right or even good, but regardless of what’s going on around us, as people of God we need to consider what He says.
“Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Take care of your own business, and do your own work as we have already told you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11 NCV)
Years ago a Facebook friend posted a link to a three-page list of what to pray for your children, which I’ve since used as a structural guidepost for my prayers. The last item, “give their country peace in their lifetime,” initially seemed almost redundant–we do live in the United States after all–but as weas a peopledrift away from an unadulterated adherance to Scripture, welose our exceptionalism andbecome as vulnerable to social unrest as any other country.
I am reminded of Moses–before God called him. When he saw an Egyptian harshly beating an Israelite slave he took matters into his own hands and killed him. Because of this Moses had to run away from Egypt and start a completely new life elsewhere, and it did nothing of note for the plight of the enslaved Israelites. So it goes, each time we take matters into our own hands to humanly right a wrong rather than doing things God’s way. It may be well-intentioned, but is ill-conceived. Protests foment civil unrest; God wants His people to live peacefully!
Let’s take a look at God’s Word, because He is not silent on the issue (this, by the way, was the prayer Jesus prayed right before going to the cross for our sins; it’s long, but bear with me because it tells us so much that we need to know about who we are in Christ and our current situation):
“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. I have revealed you to those whomyou gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew withcertainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world hashated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As yousent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me beforethe creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.’” (John 17:1-26 NIV) God’s ways are really not our ways!
“I pray…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” This is not an artificially contrived unity; it borders on the incomprehensible and is of supernatural origin because only the Spirit of Christ in us can accomplish it; Jesus prayed that those who are His be one even as He and the Father are one!
Although what various groups try to accomplish may be worthwhile–some might even insist they are necessary–the problem with causes is that they divide people into different camps. Christ, however, unites. I may not be black (or Asian, or Hispanic, etc.) but my African-American brother in Christ and I have the same Holy Spirit in us and are both part of Christ’s body, His church. How can I then not love him?
So, what cause do you identify with? If you have the Spirit of Christ in you, it will be the cause of Christ and all that entails!
Help me do all I can to live a peaceful life, remembering that you tell us to “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) Amen.