These are fun times we live in, are they not? (I can see my Marine Corps Drill Instructor, SSgt Demars, standing in front of us with his knife hands saying, "It's a good morning for PT, is it not?")
Everywhere we turn our senses are assaulted with negative this and bad that. I've actually curtailed several posts just because I don't want to add to the din of hate that seems to have encompassed our society. This week alone, the mainstream media has been awash with more accusations and innuendo because nobody liked the outcome of Attorney General Barr's memo on Special Council Mueller's report, regardless of legal precedent.
I'm reminded, unfortunately, of a passage in Timothy.
"Be sure of this. In the last days hard times will come. People will love themselves. They will love money. They will talk about themselves and be proud. They will say wrong things about people. They will not obey their parents. They will not be thankful. They will not keep anything holy. They will have no love. They will not agree with anybody. They will tell lies about people. They will have no self-control. They will beat people. They will not love anything that is good. They cannot be trusted. They will act quickly, without thinking. They are proud of themselves. They love to have fun more than they love God. They act as if they worshipped God, yet they do not let God's power work in their lives." (2 Tim 3:1-5, NKJV)
Seriously, read the chapter, if not just these verses. Is this not the time in which we are living? (Said using knife hands.) I mean, last year all the praise was heaped on Mueller and Trump was lambasted regularly. Now both sides of the "aisle" are skewering Mueller for not reaching a conclusion. Never mind the Special Council's office has indicted 34 people over the last 2 years. He didn't "get Trump" so his $30M was a total waste, according to never-Trumpers.
Solomon was and is considered the wisest of all kings. His wisdom was God's gift (1 Kings 3:9) and his rulings were more than adequate – they were perfect. So, when Solomon advised to feed and clothe our enemies rather than taking vengeance on them (Prov 25:21-22) his counsel should be considered if we ever have that choice. One of my favorites is in the same chapter, Proverbs 25 verse 19, "Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint." It's like Solomon knew FOX, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR – pretty much all mainstream media – would begin to gnaw at us like an abscessed tooth. You can't eat on that side of your mouth without suffering. You just can't trust it to do its job without causing you pain.
But where do we stand? I mean, if God's love is so pervasive, so perfect, so encompassing, how do we resolve not to become part of the hate we see everyday? How do I as a writer who professes to live by God's word and trust in His precepts, write about today's events without becoming part of the problem? How do we as Christians avoid joining in when everyone around us, even the deacon and the church board, are Negative Nancys?
Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Nego: Put yourself in the shoes of one of the Bible's most famous trios. Young Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were thrown into a furnace. Why? Because they wouldn't join the noise around them. They chose to love their God and pushed back against wrong worship and it could have cost them their lives. What was their answer?
"O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up." (Dan 3:16-18, NKJV)
They said "we trust God" even if it meant God let them die in the fire.
Abraham and Isaac: What about the father of Israel, Abraham, and his son, Isaac, promised of God? As the patriarch of a nation, Abraham faced a choice, kill the son God gifted to him or disobey God because He had to be wrong. He chose to trust God knew what He was doing – always.
"Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son." (Gen 22:13, NIV)
Abraham said, "God will make a way."
Peter: As one of Jesus' closest disciples, Peter once said he would rather die with Jesus than reject His deity (Matt 26:35). But what if we've already fallen into the trap? What if our last ten posts are all political or negative or just another cymbal in the cacophony of negative sounds?
"But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are saying!" Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." (Luke 22:60-61, NKJV)
"Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious." (1 Peter 2:3, NKJV)
If anyone needed forgiveness, it was Peter. After denying Christ the day of his crucifixion, Peter went on to see the empty tomb, witness His victorious post-resurrection form, and preach His word until the Apostle was (likely) crucified upside down in Rome. (Remember Matthew 26:35?)
How much more hope is there for us to see the error of our ways, seek His forgiveness, and walk even closer to Him which is all He wants from us anyway! So, never fear. God is love. God is forgiveness. And each lesson helps us to walk even closer, which is where He wants us.
–Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.