We’ve all been there. Scrolling through various avenues of social media, seeking absolutely nothing. And the inevitability of coming across something controversial or political nags at the back of our minds. But we lie to ourselves, insisting that we will ignore it. That “false news” won’t get in the way of our mundane goal to find brief satisfaction. But it does. Because we have all been there. Suffocated in one way or another by the epidemic we have all grown so accustomed to.
I feel that so often my days are bombarded by the presence of meaningless arguments that scream for attention, that demand a choosing of sides. We hide behind screens, pulling truth apart at the seams, mistaking it for trivial pursuits. We trade truth for that which we want to believe, regardless of its authenticity. We fight for the wrong things. We choose temporal over eternal. We long for earthly approval over perpetual holiness. We have undermined the power of the gospel in a desperate effort to avoid fracturing our self-worth.
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 4:8-11
And I speak to myself with this regard. I am in no means exempt from the unyielding desire to prove a point and to “fit in” with culture’s exaggerated expectations. But my heart has grown overwhelmingly burdened by the rampant pursuit for recognition of self that has plagued our culture and blurred our vision.
Our lives should be filled with a cry for the gospel to be heard, not a cry for ourselves to be seen.
This crucial fact has excessively grown ignored, deemed unwarranted in light of misguided attention. And the lingering misconstrued importance of “self” must be eradicated for the sake of lifting high the name of the one who sits on the holy throne. This is where it must begin. And I think this is what so many people have failed to acknowledge in their cries to be heard.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:12-17
I read so many stories of hatred, violence, rape, and hundreds of other earthly injustices. And while they all break my heart, fueling deep disgust, I find myself more broken by the responses to them. Instead of responding in love, supported by the truth of God’s precious, everlasting, and powerful Word and motivated by a desire for Jesus to be exalted, I see responses saturated in misplaced knowledge. I see a grave lack of forgiveness. I see arguments that demand earthly “justice.”
Have we forgotten that we are in no place of authority to insist on such an outcome? We plead for others to join alongside us in efforts to bring forth a kind of integrity to the world that no man has the power to bring in the first place. We are quick to slander, to scoff at others’ offense, suppressing our own falling short. Instead, rather, we should be responding with humility – with pleas to our heavenly Father to give us patience, and perseverance in the faith. We should be chasing hard after a life that points others to the saving, wondrous power of God’s wonderful grace.
“ Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:29-32
Where there is void of gospel truth, we should be desperately trying to fill, reacting with humility and grace. The same kind of grace we have undeservedly received from our Heavenly Father who saved us from our wretched selves. Who paid the ultimate price for our everyday injustices. Have we forgotten that we owe the same consideration to others?
My heart is burdened. And I wanted to share with you a glimpse of my cry – that we would stand up against the devastation of this world, forsaking worldly pursuits for the sake of the gospel, boasting in nothing but Jesus Christ.