Jun 8, 2020
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
I hope this week will not be like last week. I hope things settle down and the looting, riots, and violence that accompanied the protests over the apparent racial injustice across the country. The swift action of the protestors bothered me as the demonstrations began before investigators and prosecutors even had time to make their case. I trust justice will prevail as courts review the evidence, and a jury of the officers' peers make decisions about their guilt or innocence.
We need to stop the violence from both sides. Burning cars, breaking windows, looting stores only adds to the illusion that violence requires violence for resolution. But that never works. It only escalates the violent actions from both sides, and innocent people suffer because of it. Certainly, there must be better ways to solve the issues facing the nation than burning down the land where we live and work and raise our children. The destruction makes no sense.
As always, in these situations, we forget that except for the amount of melanin residing in the melanocytes in the epidermis, we are the same. The more melanin, the darker our skin tone. We all have about the same number of melanocytes; it's just how much melanin those cells produce. Do an autopsy on any of us and cut through that epidermis, and we all look the same inside. Our hearts are in the same place. Our lungs look and operate in the same way. Our stomachs and intestines don't need different roadmaps to find them based on race or color of our skin. We are very much the same inside.
So why do we become so obsessed with the color of someone's skin? I think because there is usually something we don't like about ourselves, so we need to find a way to think ourselves better than them. Whether black, white, yellow, brown, red, or purple, I want to overlook my faults, and to do that, I find fault in those not like me. In Viet Nam, we fought Gooks, not Vietnamese. In Desert Storm, the enemy was ragheads, not Iraqi soldiers or the ancestors of the proud Persian people. In every war, we make the enemy something less than human to make it easier to engage them.
Unfortunately, we have done the same across the world and now within our nation. We are setting ourselves up to destroy ourselves internally in a kind of civil war that has yet to identify precisely how the combatant will align. Politics divide us deeper than in our nearly 250-year history. It is almost impossible to hear a middle ground in any debate anymore. Politics exists only in the far-left and far-right extremes today.
The same seems true as we divide economically. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, our laws support the division of family groups into a widening gap between the rich and poor with fewer considered middle-class. And laws designed to assist the poor, instead keep them below the poverty line and encourage the dissolution of family units or their financial situation would become even worse. While we do all of this, our elected officials make themselves fat at our expense with a national debt impossible to pay. Divided equally, to pay our national debt, every American from the oldest to the youngest now owes about $70,000 each. Any of us handling our personal bank accounts the same way Congress handles our taxes would face imprisonment for fraud, theft, or embezzling. We can't keep spending what we will never earn.
So how do we fix the mess we created for ourselves over the last several decades? First, we need to remember who we are from the start. Look back at the beginning to see a description of how we began and our responsibilities in this place called Earth. You'll find it in the very first chapter of Genesis, the beginning.
26 Then God said, "Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth."
27 God created humanity in God's own image,
in the divine image God created them,[a]
male and female God created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and master it. Take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, and everything crawling on the ground." 29 Then God said, "I now give to you all the plants on the earth that yield seeds and all the trees whose fruit produces its seeds within it. These will be your food. 30 To all wildlife, to all the birds in the sky, and to everything crawling on the ground—to everything that breathes—I give all the green grasses for food." And that's what happened. 31 God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good.
There was evening and there was morning: the sixth day. (Genesis 1:26-31 CEB)
We see in these verses; God made all of us. He also gave us the responsibility to care for everything else he created. I think that includes each other. It doesn't mean coddle, but nurture, teach, bring to maturity. I see that command in Jesus last words to His disciples before He ascended into heaven after His resurrection when He said:
"I've received all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything that I've commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age." (Matthew 28:18-20 CEB)
Go into all the world doesn't leave anyone out. It includes every place, every continent, every people, every race. Teaching them everything He taught goes back to the beginning of time. Be the people God intended you to be. Take care of this place. Take care of each other. Extend mercy and grace to each other. Demonstrate God's love to one another. Let everyone know the importance of every human life because each one mirrors God's image, the creator of the universe. Within us lives the spark of God's creative genius and His breath of life.
How should we treat each other? The videos dominating social media and the news over the last several days clearly demonstrate how not to live. Fortunately, we do not live in North Korea or under Sharia Law. If we did, those looters and demonstrators from the several last days would be summarily executed in front of our courthouses after kangaroo trials. Those reporting the incidents without trying to stop the violence would probably face imprisonment or worse as well.
We still live in a land of opportunity. We must pause and take a hard look at ourselves. Some of our authorities clearly stepped over the line in recent days, but not all of them. Most of our law enforcement and first responders serve proudly without prejudice protecting all citizens' rights and property. Most deserve our respect and honor. We need a better way to find and root out the bad actors and punish them when they abuse their authority. But as in any community, that percentage of bad actors is small, just as the number of violent actors in the recent protests represented a small percentage of those present.
We must be careful not to let the small percentage of bad actors prejudice our judgment against a community, whether a race of people, a police department, a government agency, or a nation. A few bad actors do not represent the whole. In our haste to stereotype, may God stop us and remind us He made everything very good. We are the ones who damaged His creation, but with His help, we can also restore it in many ways. Before thinking everyone is like the few in the news or social media, remember, God made us all, and He makes all things good.
Then turn to Paul's last words to the church in Corinth. Listen to his warning to them:
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, good-bye. Put things in order, respond to my encouragement, be in harmony with each other, and live in peace—and the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Say hello to each other with a holy kiss.[a] All of God's people say hello to you.
13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:11-13 CEB)
If we work to put things in order, respond to encouragement, be in harmony with each other, and live in peace – the God of love and peace will overshadow us. The violence will end. The prejudice will stop. We will become the people God made us to be. I urge you to let His word sink into your heart instead of the political vitriol that pours through the media in the next days.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked CEB are taken from the COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE (CEB): Scriptures taken from the COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE copyright© 2011, 2012. Used by permission.