By Brenda Black
“We've got to consider creating a more non-violent society,” Bernice King, daughter of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, professed during a live interview with CNN. She says her daddy was first and foremost a preacher. He was a pastor and a healing leader says his daughter. King added that she believed our country to be significantly divided and it was essential to find a way to heal this nation.
I agree. We need less violence. We need healing. But no new revelation by the powers that be is going to trump the plan for both to be achieved that was laid out by the King of Kings a long time ago.
Step One: “'...love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.'” (John 13:34-35)
Step Two: “'...come out from them and be separate,' says the Lord. 'Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)
Honestly, it's hard to live separately in a world that glorifies sin and blasphemes my Lord continually. Just recently, we visited with a young man for a matter of minutes about a quite benign topic. In the short course of that conversation, he swore needlessly with every sentence. He was handsome, intelligent, even actually polite, but filth just oozed out of him and all over us. The vulgarities never waned in the company of ladies, they did not cease once he learned that my husband was a pastor. He was totally ignorant to his disrespectful habit of profanity.
Unfortunately, I've encountered a few Christians along the way that are just as flippant with their tongues and condemning to their testimony. As Christians, if we don't look, act, speak, and think differently from the world, how will “all men know?” We can get so covered up with hatefulness and worldliness, we stink as much as those without hope. We can become indifferent to our Savior and King and more transfixed on all things Hollywood. We talk about stuff that doesn't matter when we ought to be seeking the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength! Love isn't just sentimentality. It's action that conveys a sold-out commitment to the Christ and to His family! Is it too much to ask that we come together and worship once a week or that we open the Bible some day other than Sunday? Is it obvious to those we meet that we are redeemed through our words and our deeds? Are we thankful, joyful, patient and kind? Are we loyal, disciplined and faithful? Do we say “no” to the flesh and “yes” to the spirit?
I regret that I allow all too often my heart and mind to be tarnished by the junk of the world instead of being polished by the Word. I fall into the trap of anger, bitterness and hopelessness sometimes – especially after I read the news. And I, too, fall entirely short of God's glory in a multitude of ways every day. I am, therefore, overwhelmingly grateful for God's grace! I'm also glad that I tend to become highly convicted when I go astray and genuinely desire to live a life of integrity. I know that God honors repentance and blesses such longings.
“Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.” (Psalm 97:10-12)
I want to be righteous and it is definitely a work in progress. How about you? Only God can make any one of us less violent and more loving. Only God can bring the healing. It begins with every individual before it can sweep across a nation.