child… and the feed that resulted from this post was incredible! Everything from the need legalizing or decriminalize drugs to the crux of the problem starts with parents to comments like ‘just shoot the dealer’.
I appreciate that everyone has their own perspectives on issues like this and try to see all sides of things, but the comment that stood out to me was the “why jail him, just shoot him”. It came from someone we know to be a church going, volunteering, Christ-serving, Christ-loving person. And I was stunned!
I was stunned because of the attitude. Yes, there are times I sit here and think about the really ugly things that happen in this world and I can have my own moralistic, righteous thoughts or feelings on things and then I get hit on the head with “hang on lady… you aren’t perfect… you are really no different than that person… you need Me just as much as they do.”
We ALL need the love of Christ. We all need love period!
Jesus did not come to shoot the sinners … in fact, in John 8, when He got to the temple that morning, they brought a woman caught in adultery to Him and trying to bait Him, explained that in the Law she should be stoned to death and asked His opinion on the matter. When Jesus replied He said: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (John 8:7). Guess what?! No one cast a stone at her. They were convicted of their own ugly stuff and turned away from her.
Being a Christian is SUPPOSED to mean that we follow Christ’s example. And yes, I realize that sometimes that is a lot easier to say than it is to do, and as I have already stated, I’m no different… I can have my own moralistic and righteous attitudes towards things. BUT… isn’t that the whole point?? That we are supposed to follow Christ’s example? Aren’t we supposed to look at our OWN stuff before we throw stones at other people? Aren’t we supposed to work from the inside out not the outside in? Jesus doesn’t live ‘out there’… He lives INSIDE each and every person and even more strongly and evidently inside those who declare they are His followers.
In 1 Peter 2:1-3, we are told to lay aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking. Bad stuff happens. Bad people happen. We ourselves aren’t perfect. But we are clearly told WHAT to do in order to grow, change, be cleansed, be transformed, be purified, redeemed, etc.
In fact, as I sit here and preach especially to myself, in this day and age, which ‘appears’ to be getting worse, 1 Peter 2 is a chapter we need to look at closely.
We are a chosen generation, who are to proclaim the goodness of God for what He has done in OUR OWN LIVES (our testimony) because ONCE we were in darkness and NOW we are not. Once we were all just like the adulterous woman but God showed us grace and through His grace we found His love.
We are in a war against our souls and indeed FOR our own souls, but our OWN conduct is supposed to be honorable, so that even when some people speak badly about us (haters will hate), they will eventually see our own good stuff for which we give God the glory. We are supposed to be the EXAMPLE of Christ.
This chapter even tells us to honor ALL people, love the brotherhood (our fellow Christ-followers), fear God and honor the king (or in our case as we have no king, our own governments).
There are people in this world, in our own generation, and in the generations of the past and the future to come, who will not turn to Christ, who will not do good, who will not believe… But WE need to DO what we BELIEVE. And if we believe and call ourselves Christ-followers or Christians, even in at a time like this, when it feels like the world is out to silence us… that means loving others… for it is ONLY by what we DO that others will SEE Christ and Christ through us.
I am like you… I get stuck on this whole ‘love’ thing… it really isn’t easy to love those who hurt us, who hurt people we love or indeed people like this fentanyl drug dealer who is literally killing his own clientele. Yet Jesus met this stuff every single day of His ministry with the government, temple leaders, opposition, proud, stubborn, etc. Still, He never waivered from loving them… even if it meant doing it from a distance. He prayed for them, talked with them, answered them and then died for them and ultimately knew it was their own choice to accept Him or not. We cannot force nor bully people into believing… We can’t harass them, chase them, chain them, law them into it, or anything else. It is their own personal choice.
The only thing we can do, is allow God’s Spirit to work inside of us (again, I need to emphasize that this is a choice and we need to allow it), cleansing us and enabling us to SHOW through our own lives, the love that God has for ALL of His creation.
We do not need to hang out with those who hurt or ridicule us… Jesus didn’t do that. But we do need to love them as best we possibly can, as easily as praying for them and giving thanks to God for them, for even through the hate, the bad, the ugly of this world, we find who we are in Christ and just how much God really does love us.
There may be nothing we can do immediately in this world to change it instantly and make it a place of peace, beauty and love… but we can start today with ourselves and make changes within ourselves which will make the future, anything beyond this very second, a better place.
It starts with us… It starts inside… It starts with love…