Sunday, August 25, 2013
When Current Events Anger Me, God Shows Me Reasons to Love
It's hard for a Christian to remain joyful these days, because our focus keeps getting jerked around by horrifying examples of hate. Of course it's a comfort that our society hasn't yet moved to having us torn to pieces by lions, but the seduction from the enemy is difficult for people to resist when they haven't a solid connection with God, and the spiritual equivalent is already here.
I don't watch the news, but one can't help seeing the headlines on Google or Yahoo, and most of it's ugly. It's a reminder of Romans 12:14: "Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse." 1 Peter 3:9 is a good one, too. "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." No one ever said being a Christian would be easy.
Here's how He turned my attention back to Him this week.
There were two disturbing stories about black youth's killing whites from boredom, including a visiting Australian and a WWII vet. My first instinct was...well, let's just say it was negative.
So Jesus responded with a story about Christian love: Antoinette Tuff, a black woman, courageously stopped a man armed with an AK-47 from shooting up a school. She did it with love and kindness. She was a true Christian.
Then there is the unbelievable violence in Egypt against Christians, including Catholic nuns being marched through the street. Barak Obama continues to sit on his thumbs, and his spokesman even made a joke at the press conference. Not much hope for help from those quarters. Angry? You bet!
So Jesus responded with the news that a Muslim woman came to the aid of the nuns, a good reminder that each of us choose individually whether or not to respond to God, and a few bad apples will NOT spoil the whole barrel.
Now there's a story about that knucklehead in England who is a wealthy narcissist. He says he's a Christian, but he wants to force Christians to violate their beliefs so he can have a pretty gay wedding in their church. Their privately owned church. His favorite poem is "Me, Myself and I."
I'm still waiting for Jesus response to that one, but do you see the theme? There's violence and hatred and bullying everywhere, and Jesus keeps reminding me to respond with love. Because that's His will, and it's all about His will, not mine.
So instead of rethinking my position on capital punishment, I will pray for the conversion of those criminals, that the right priest or deacon or Christian prison missionary will be able to soften their hard hearts with the aid of the Holy Spirit. He has converted many hopeless causes in the past. I will pray that the Muslim Brotherhood who helps the military spread hate and violence will learn from the Muslim woman who lived her faith. (I already pray regularly for Barack Obama's conversion.) And I will pray for the conversion of that gay narcissist, that he might truly become Christian and know it's not all about him. And I will pray for more trust in God, so that I don't let these things bother me so much.
It's not easy being a Christian, but faith and trust and prayer fill the journey with hope, so I can get back to being joyful.