With the recent shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota, and now Dallas, the landscape of our country continues to divide. Some say police corruption must stop, others say black lives matter, while others are saying there is no respect for authority today. The result has left our country divided and people dead. What’s the answer? How should Christians navigate through the mayhem?
1. Don’t Fall for the Revenge Trap
Exodus 21:24 – eye for eye, tooth for tooth
Many times people will use this verse to rationalize why it is right to take revenge on someone else. There are those who would say the Dallas shooting was retaliation for the innocent people that police officers have killed…. “eye for an eye”. Yet what is often overlooked with this Old Testament verse is that it was given to the leadership of Israel to enforce. In other words, it was a law to be enforced through a legal system and not to be practiced on an individual level.
In fact, the rest of the verse says… “hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” It was a law that said in very simple terms that the penalty for committing a crime should match the crime. But again, this was only to be enforced through a legal system. God’s word condemns taking personal revenge or vigilante behavior (Romans 12:19-21). Therefore, it is important that Christians don’t fall into the revenge trap and personally imposing “justice”. Now, this can be wrapped in many packages (i.e. verbal, relational, or even physical revenge). Even though it may feel good, it isn’t good and will only lead to more pain and suffering (c.f. Proverbs 15:1).
2. Expose Deception With Truth
Matthew 5:13a, 14a, 16 – You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Salt in the ancient world was used to preserve and prevent food from decaying. It was the ancient refrigerator. Christians are called to be “salt” in the world we live in. This means that we are to help preserve The Gospel and the truth of God’s word in our decaying society. Christians are also called to be light, which highlights we need to be shining God’s truth in today’s darkness. This also has an “exposure” aspect when things are being covered up.
Therefore, it is entirely appropriate and good to bring truth to a deceptive situation or to expose something taking place that is wrong or ungodly. This is what it means to individually be salt and preserve. Of course, this would need to take place within the limits of the law (Romans 13:1-7), but God’s word does give Christians the freedom to do so. Again, exposing deception with truth can take place on many levels (i.e. verbally, relationally, or even politically). The goal is not to Christianize a society of non-Christians but to shine light in the darkness so people can ultimately see Jesus (see my blog post, The Real Oregon Shooting Solution).
So be careful that you don’t get caught up in the back and forth of today’s divided world but instead bring the truth of God’s word into the equation, being salt and light for others to see. This is Faith in the Real World!
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