Friday, July 8, 2016

Peace In Our Time

Proverbs 10:19 warns that  "Sin is not ended by multiplying words,but the prudent hold their tongues. "

The events of the last 72 hours have jolted the nation and stir many emotions, priming hearts to produce many words. Realizing that words are both powerful and inadequate in addressing the troubles of our times, I am compelled to share and will likely share many times in the days ahead as we reflect as individuals and collectively as a nation.

The words that come to mind most urgently in this season of tension and pain are these: "Fear not!"  To people of faith, the Scriptures instruct us that while upheavals come, tragedies abound and cataclysms disrupt, we should not live in fear. We are reminded that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of clear thinking."  When life slams us with the unbearable, we have spiritual resources that allow us to face challenges with strength,  to respond to hatred with love,  and to enter chaos with reason and resolve.

Wisdom dispels the naivete that the world is a safe place. While I am surprised by the specific manifestations of evil we have experienced this week, I am not surprised that evil has surfaced and struck at the heart of the nation. While our nation is great, it is flawed, and our flaws have wrought violence in various forms throughout our history.

We must not allow eruptions of evil to lull us into sentimental mourning or rile us to mindless rage. We must comfort those who have been savagely violated, remember and honor those who have perished in fighting the good fight, and renew our resolve to continue to work for the good and to resist what is evil, as evil will surely manifest itself again as our lives inevitably return to a semblance of normalcy.

I hate the evil of our times, but I am not undone by it. I abhor the hatred and ignorance that have destroyed so many precious lives but I will not be overcome by them. Hate will not be defeated by hate.  Racism will not by destroyed by prejudice. Love conquers all. Love gives courage. Love feeds conviction. Love produces fearless action.

Let us arise from the crushing blows that have been dealt us not with impotent sentimentality or disabling and misplaced rage. Let love lift us to meaningful action in our own corners of the world - action that speaks peace into chaos, reason to ignorance and direction and hope into apathy and hopelessness.

The times are wicked, but God has given me the hope and peace that my Jesus displayed when he faced the ultimate evil on the cross.  He offers that peace to us, and I eagerly embrace it now. May God grant you peace in these troubled days and hope that will renew your strength and lift your spirits enabling you to live now and forever with power, love and clear thinking.

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