From my point of view this has been a terrible year for our country, and, I’m sorry to say, that it really isn’t looking like a good year for the church in America either.
Bleeding tears and gashes have been ripped into what was left of our civilization – beyond the surface tears and gashes. After this last gaping wound in Charleston, I can’t help but wonder if we haven’t already taken a fatal blow.
And is anyone listening?
No, everyone is yelling. Everyone is demanding that their voice be heard. And none of it seems to be motivated by a desire to change and to heal, but by a desire to strike back and to come out on top.
But listening? I don’t think so.
My husband and I listen to talk radio on the way home from work. I hear some good points, but for the most part those good ideas are hurled at the opposing parties, not offered. And the opposing parties had no intention of listening to those ideas in the first place. They were only waiting to hurl their own ideas back.
I guess I can handle that kind of lack of listening because few, if any of them claim Christianity.
But then…I look on Facebook and see Christians slinging their ideas back and forth at each other, like boxers in a ring. One punch follows another and no one can hear anything over the howling of the crowd through endless “comments”.
Are they listening? Maybe I’m wrong, but it doesn’t look or sound like it.
I open my Bible and I try to listen.
This is what I hear:
For you were called to freedom, brothers, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law if fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
I pray that I am listening to those words. I pray that God will make them real in my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit.
And these words too:
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
So, I’m not going to punch at you with my ideas, but I am going to ask if you are listening. Are you listening to the God who is still the Ruler of us all no matter what all the angry voices scream? Are you opening His Word and listening? Are you asking Him to implant His Word in you and to change you? Are you begging to hear His voice over the crowd?
If we are not willing to focus on listening to Him, it may be true that we have suffered the fatal blow.
It’s just my opinion, but I think it’s time to step back from the fight and start listening…to our God.