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Heavy Hearted

June 1, 2020
Being Sad Is Actually Good For You, Psychologists Now Reckon

If you have a TV, a radio, a computer or a smart phone that connects to the Internet, you’ve seen the reports. I’ve seen more of them than I need to see. Stores, restaurants, police stations in flames and shambles. Lifetime effort and savings in ashes. Grown men and women smashing and grabbing. Pent-up anger erupting in senseless violence. And not just in the city where an unconscionable atrocity was committed by a man who was sworn to defend and protect. The anger and violence has spilled into the streets of cities all across our country.

Forgive me for venting about what thousands of others (many of them more articulate and more well-educated than me) have written and said about these things.

I am saddened by the fact that these things have happened at all, and that the angry violence continues. I’m saddened that so much of the anger in this is rightful. I’m saddened that the crime and violence that is being perpetrated is being done by grown adults who, if they have a conscience, have gagged it for the convenience of looting and pillaging. And I’m further saddened by the fact that the agency that reports itself to be the source of truth-telling has forgotten how to tell the truth in favor of selling more advertising on their 24/7 networks.

My heart is heavy for the country I love.

I honestly do not care what the color of the skin or the ethnic origin of the people I see on my news feed is. To me, this is immaterial. Although main stream media outlets promote the idea that this is racial, I DO NOT CONSIDER THIS TO BE RACIAL. I saw a meme on social media that said, “This isn’t about skin; it’s about sin. This isn’t about race; it’s about grace.” I believe this is the truth.

There are reasons for the anger. Real reasons, not invented ones. There is still a racial divide in our country. Racism still exists. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, dream of people being judged for the quality of their character and not the color of their skin is still a dream. I think a case can be made that progress has been made toward this noble dream in the last 40 years. But there is still far to go to make the dream a reality.

You’ve got your own list of things about this that sadden you. I wonder how many innocent lives will be deeply wounded by the lighting and relighting of this powder keg?

This is not the first time we’ve seen riots and looting. It’s a repeat. This does not make it any less heartbreaking. In some ways, it makes it more heartbreaking for me. Have we not learned anything since the last time violent anger took to the streets to loot and destroy? Apparently not. Or at least not enough to make a difference.

Fixing this isn’t about making more laws so that it won’t happen. There are already laws in place that make it illegal. You can’t make it any more illegal than it already is. Projections I’ve seen are that thousands of arrests will be made. I don’t have much confidence in this projection. Hundreds maybe, but thousands? Most of those who broke the law will have done so with no worries of punishment. More laws won’t fix this any more than more anger will.

So what will? All of us should feel free to share our opinion on the nature of the problem and its effect on our country. The First Amendment is still in effect. But stating and restating a problem is only the front porch for solving it. In this case, I’m not sure I agree with the old adage, “A problem well defined is half solved.” In this case, well-defining the problem only gets us to the front porch, not even through the front door. I think it’s a long way from being even half solved. We’ve been identifying and defining the problem for more than a century. It’s not half solved yet.

This is the nature of a soul problem. Soul problems are more difficult than any other kind of problem. I believe they are impossible for us to solve. Theologically, if this soul problem could be solved by us, we wouldn’t need a Savior. Jesus’ coming, living, teaching, dying and coming back from the dead would all be wasted motion.

But we can’t solve this (and so many other) soul problems. We DO need a Savior.

I know it sounds like a Sunday School answer, but to actually solve the real root problem from which all the anger and violence we’re seeing in full eruption is Jesus. Only Jesus can reconcile and restore us. Attempts at racial reconciliation and restoration without the redeeming love and blood of Jesus is well-intentioned effort ending in failure. Wasted motion.

Regardless of race, creed, color, political affiliation or motivation, the people on the world stage here are human beings, made in the image of God. All of them. Every single man and woman whose images flood your feed. And even though many (most, maybe) don’t know it, or might not acknowledge it, what they want more than anything is to find a healing for the deep wounds in their souls.

I’m guessing an apology would be nice. It won’t fix the problem, but if it’s offered sincerely and without condition, it surely wouldn’t hurt. I know that even a finely tuned and well crafted apology won’t fix it, though.

The Bible word for what will change this whole deeply hurtful thing is REPENTANCE. It is the one and only doorway to solving this soul problem.

The repentance required here isn’t for just one side. It’s for all sides. For those who promote and practice racism. For those who promote the division and hatred for some twisted gain. For those whose anger has exploded into violence and rioting, outside or above the law. For those who sit on the sidelines and just watch it play out, but make no attempt to make a difference. So did I leave anybody out? Only one group. The people who are stepping into the conflict with the genuine love of Christ to be ambassadors of reconciliation on His behalf (who, by the way, you’re not likely to see in the news broadcasts). The rest of us must repent.

And then there’s this. Never mistake remorse for repentance. They’re two different things. Being sad that you did something wrong, or didn’t do something right isn’t repenting. Repenting happens when you actually turn from sin and turn to God. It’s not a feeling, but a doing. John the Baptist was talking about this when he said to the Jewish leaders in Luke 3:8, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” (NLT)

All of us can do this. I’d say start here. Take a few minutes and prayerfully ponder if you’re ready to repent of any racism in your heart. Some of us who think we don’t have any probably do…

Then take a few more minutes and ask God to show you how you can prove by the way you life that you have repented. Ask Him to do what He already wants to do: to work in you toward living out your repentance.

The racial divide and hatred won’t likely be healed with a rally of thousands. Or even a sting of them. It’s much more likely to happen one heart at a time, one person at a time. And who knows, maybe you and I can be useful to God for that.

From → Marriage

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