Are we headed towards revolution? I sure hope not—but I don’t know. I recently watched Hamilton on Disney, and was blown away—in several ways. First (obviously) by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s incredible talent: did you realize he wrote the music, lyrics and book (inspired by another author’s book) and co-produced and starred in the title role? Wow! That would be impressive even if this musical were a dud, but (although Christians will find the casual use of Jesus’ name and coarse sexual references offensive) it’s (otherwise) incredibly appealing. Yet one of the first and most catchy songs, “Rise Up,” as presented by the cast in today’s political climate, intentionally or not feels in the viewer’s mind like a current call to cast off oppression.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NKJV)
I do feel we’ve forgotten God, as a nation. You see, following Him isn’t a matter of affiliation or traditional or what your family or community has always done—it’s a matter of resolution and personal commitment for each and every one of us who loves Him. Yet there are so many who do not love God anymore—who haven’t experienced His love and forgiveness and acceptance through Jesus Christ—and who cannot thus, pass that love onto others.
Because love is His command to us. We are to love others—each and every other, whether we like them or not, whether they look like or act like or are like me or not—as Jesus loves us:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 NKJV)
But those who don’t know Jesus Christ and the love God has for us through Him cannot do this. Instead they hate. They hate themselves, each other, and even God and those who follow Him, because (hopefully) we remind them that they are not living as they should. And revolution is birthed by hate.
You see, there is a contrast between how godly people respond to injustice and oppression, and how the ungodly do. Those who know, love, fear and obey the one, true, living God respond in love toward their fellow man, and when they are made aware of any injustice or oppression they do not relent until it is corrected. They reform the system; sometimes they even engage in peaceful resistance, as Dr. Martin Luther King did. Their actions, however, are fueled by love and concern towards those being wronged, not a hatred of the oppressor.
Yet this is the difference I see today—I see hatred of those perceived as the oppressor. Instead of actions fueled by love for the oppressed and desire to see their lot bettered, the motivation is hatred and a desire to destroy. This is not of God; it is, in fact, diametrically opposed to the work of His Holy Spirit in us!
And it is not because something has changed in the power structure of our country itself; although very obviously far from perfect—maybe even abysmal for some—if anything, the landscape is more equitable than it has been in the past. No, I believe the difference is the American people themselves; far more of us have stopped believing in God—listening to Him, fearing Him. So we are more open to ideas that found resistance before—ideas of rebellion, and overthrow and actual revolt. Yet consider the bloody revolutions that occurred when enough of the population rejected God’s ways in other nations—the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Chinese Cultural Revolution of 1966, for example. These were terrible, highly disruptive (to say the least) revolts that resulted in the murders of countless people! Is this what we want for our nation?
There is another side to this. You see, when enough people in any nation reject God, not only the powerless no longer know God—neither do the powerful. And human nature is selfish and inherently evil, so those in power become progressively more unjust. That is the end a nation that no longer regards the Lord God is doomed to!
So, are we headed toward a revolution? I hope not, but I don’t know. What I do know is what God calls us to: love for others.
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.” (John 15:9-17 NKJV)
Please have mercy on our nation! Please bring us to collective repentance for our sins—the primary one, from which all others stem, being that we have stopped caring what You, the God of the Universe, say. Bring us back! Help us know You, and love You, and fear You, and obey You! Amen.