Living Like Jesus In A Polarized Culture
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
The following editorial is brought to you by Rock Creek Bible Church. The aim of this meditation is to remind and point us all back to scripture, the place from which we should be taking our direction daily, especially during turbulent cultural experiences.
Our country, and our world, are experiencing incredible change right now. Covid-19 has brought about its own challenges, and since the death of George Flloyd many parts of our world have been turned upside down. In rural Kansas we haven’t felt the dynamic shifts that many others have, but we’re watching it through the lenses of our news channels and hearing the voices of those within our spheres. We’re all building our own narratives based on these influences.
The past three months have been tumultuous. The past three weeks have added an additional dimension. On our own, it’s easy to be confused or even to be drawn into the thought processes of the loudest voices in our world.
How do we make sense of it? Should we just wait it out or speak up?
As followers of Christ there’s only one place to look, and that’s to the word of God. The Bible doesn’t speak directly to our responsibilities during a pandemic, but it does speak clearly about our responsibility for protecting others. The Bible doesn’t speak directly to the specific race relations our country has been painfully limping through for many decades, but it does speak clearly to our role as supporters and defenders of those who are being mistreated. With all politics set aside we can draw a clear path from The Word about how we should respond to the current climate of our society.
Jesus spent an inordinate amount of his time focusing on the outcast and the downtrodden. Whether it was the woman at the well (John 4: 1-26), the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), healing the cripples at the pool (John 5: 1-14), healing the blind man (John 9: 1-12), the Man with leprosy (Luke 5: 12-16), raising the Widow’s son (Luke 7: 11-17), his time with the sinful woman (Luke 7: 36-50), the demon possessed man (Luke 8: 26-39), healing the boy with an evil spirit (Luke 9:37-43), Jesus was absolutely focused on taking care of those who needed the most care. Of course there are many more examples, but these are just a few.
Why was Jesus so committed to the underdog? Why did he seek out those who had no one else? Why did he become the voice for those who didn’t have a voice? When we stop and look at who He was as a man, what he considered important, it’s clear to see that he hated injustice.
The Old Testament is filled with incredible lessons. One of the biggest advantages of the Old Testament is that we get to learn about the character of God and what He truly wanted for us. In the middle of the book of Micah we get a beautiful picture of God’s truest desire for His followers when the prophet asks the question, ‘What does the Lord require of me?’
With what shall I come before the Lord
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
What does the Lord require of us?
Act Justly - Seek Justice in the World
Love Mercy - Offer Mercy to All
Walk Humble With God - Quietly Follow His Lead
Similarly, in Isaiah chapter 1 the prophet quotes God himself when talking about the way He wants to be worshiped. He speaks out against those who are just going through the motions of worship and says,
“17 Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!
Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”
Our God is absolutely concerned with justice. He is concerned with the oppressed. He calls on His people to defend those who don’t have a voice, and silence is not an option.
Jesus flocked to the suffering, the broken, and the outsiders. God constantly emphasized the importance of being the voice for the voiceless. As Christ followers and children of God, obedience means standing up and speaking out for those who God cares about.
Jesus wasn’t concerned with the politics. He didn’t choose those whom he helped based on the news cycle or the popular opinion. Instead, He looked around to see and feel who needed to be loved, and that’s where He went. As Christ followers we don’t need to choose a side of police or protesters, or haves and have nots. We simply need to look around with Christ-like eyes to see who needs to be loved, and go to those places.
Written by Stephen Colwell with Jonathan Runyan