As my friend and I met at a local coffee shop frequented by many Christians who enjoy coffee, relationships and the Bible, we poured over scripture about the early church and how they loved each other. We discussed the impact they had on their community and How God used them to change a society. Because of the witness they had, God continued to add to their number daily (Act 2:42-47).
While we discussed the beauty of the church caring for those who were hurting around them, I overheard many in the coffee shop discussing the horrific events that have impacted our country. The shootings in several states and the execution of 5 police officers in Dallas. Others were discussing their concerns about the upcoming election.
My heart began to ache. So many around us were struggling as we sat discussing scripture. The ache came because several of these people were also studying the Bible, but appeared to be lost or confused. Historically, when the world seemingly falls apart, the church has been there to minister, love and provide hope. As a pastor, I too struggle making sense of how things happen or why people do what they do. What I must do though all of this is to focus on what I know. I know we live in a broken world and that the only hope or answer is Jesus.
So here is what is ironic…we study the scriptures about the church and yet wonder what to do. We wonder how we got where we are as a country. Some blame politics, others point a finger at education or Hollywood. I think we can identify a problem in each of those settings, yet in my mind we must first look within ourselves.
Somewhere, somehow, Christians abdicated their role in this country. The church dropped the ball. We lost sight of our great commission given by our great King and focused on issues or objects that distracted us from our position in society. We stopped being a light. We stopped being on the offensive and sat down on our jobs. What’s ironic about my morning is that here we are studying what we are supposed to do, yet very few know WHAT to do. When that happens in my life I have to dive into the scriptures for answers.
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-11.
We must respond with love. We must be of one mind and go to those around us with a message of hope. Our hope is in Jesus Christ, and no matter what anyone does around us, we carry the personal responsibility of “being” a Christ Follower and loving those who are struggling or searching for answers.