Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man…
This verse scripture has been running through my brain for the past few months. We often read it and think it applies to other people. But what if we are the ones who have become fools?
I think all of us feel it. Our hearts are confused and aren’t quite sure how to react. The violence this country saw on January 6th and in the preceding months is disgraceful. Social media is rife with arrogance. It’s saddening to see disrespect for humans made in the image of God. The finger-pointing and blame game is exhausting. The spreading of disinformation, outright lies, and manipulation tactics undermine honesty and integrity. Our distrust of one another is valid.
Why? James says it well.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. ~James 4:1-2
We want something that we don’t have. What is it that we want? Could it be that we have placed people/ideals/causes/slogans/you name it on a pedestal that is reserved for God and God alone? Have we misplaced our hope in things that will never meet our expectations?
Please understand, I am not suggesting we become complacent. There is a time and a place to fight for noble causes, to stand for truth, to keep people accountable, and to reflect God’s justice here on earth. There is a time and a place for righteous anger (though it should not lead us to sin or to take vengeance into our own hands).
What I am suggesting is that we take a look at the posture of our own hearts. At the root of it all is pride. Pride says “I deserve this.” Pride says, “You owe me something.” Pride says, “I know better than you” or even (consciously or subconsciously) “I know better than God.” Pride blinds us to the bigger picture. Pride leaves no room for compassion or others-centeredness. And our corporate pride has led events to reveal what’s festering under the surface and have boiled over into one gigantic mess.
So what are we supposed to do? Most of us do not have a large platform. Most of us are not called to public office. As we ask ourselves, “where am I placing my hope?” let us remember that all of us have a sphere of influence whether it be at home with your kiddos (so much respect for you, SAHMs), in the corporate world, as an instagram blogger, as a store clerk, tradesperson, artist, or anywhere in between. May we steward our influence well.
Let us seek to point our sphere to the Hope that will never disappoint. There is healing and reconciliation found in Jesus — the One who humbled himself to death on a cross. On our own strength, we’ll continue to make a mess of things but as we love others in humility, we can bring hope to the brokenness.
Practically speaking this is not a formula, nor is it an exhaustive list of actions to take but it might be somewhere to start. Let us:
- Humble ourselves before God and our fellow humans.
- Grieve, mourn, and lament the brokenness we see
- Check our own hearts and repent of the sin we find
- Make an active effort to resist evil both inwardly and outwardly
- Act on our convictions shaped by scripture
May we humble ourselves to seek wisdom, discernment, and understanding before making knee-jerk reactions. Let us remove any idols that may have taken up residence on the pedestals of our hearts. May we be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry. May we not seek to slander our fellow image-bearers but call them to accountability in truth. Let us run our races with endurance, fixing our eyes on Jesus, in whom we have a hope that will never disappoint. Lord, show us how to courageously be lights in the midst of darkness. Heal our hearts and heal our land. Kyrie Eleison, we need you.
Scriptures: James 4:8-10, James 1:19-22, Psalm 139:23-24, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, Titus 3:1-2, Colossians 3:12-14, Philippians 2:1-18