AM I MY BROTHER'S KEEPER?
For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. (Romans 14:7 ESV)
Our world today is becoming more and more divisive. With the election south of the border, Brexit in Britain, and all the anxieties about refugees and terrorists, you can't help but feel that there is something seriously going wrong in our world.
Fear causes a "fortress mentality" and can result in negative thinking – “we need to look after ourselves and not others”, “they are stealing what we have”, “keep them out”, “let them look after themselves - we aren't responsible for their troubles”, “they can't have our jobs”, “America first”. It's becoming an “I'm ok and they can look after themselves” kind of world. Along with all this comes some very mean- spirited talk and vilification for those who don't share our views or are just different. “Lock her up” and “He's not my president” are just two such examples.
Now, I don't particularly want to talk about politics, but I do think that observing how people behave should cause us all to review our own actions and make sure not to forget Jesus' lessons to us and his commandments. As ambassadors for Christ, we are called to a higher standard of behaviour.
Three thoughts come to mind.
First of all, where do we put our trust? Why are we afraid? Are we being deceived? How do we stay grounded in Christ while the whole world seems to be going crazy?
In Psalm 20:7 the Bible tells us, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."
In March of 1998, I had the privilege of going on a mission trip to Haiti with a group from Arlington Woods Church. I well remember that after we arrived in Port-au-Prince I was terrified, not only after hearing the instructions from the missionary who met us, but from the extreme poverty evident in the sights on the streets. My fears were not lessened when we got to the hotel and I looked at the very strange food, to my North American palate, that was being served. Our journey the next day to the northern interior town of Dessalines merely added to my disorientation and multiplied my discomfort. Although I had traveled a bit, I had never been in a third world country and the culture shock was immediate and frightening. I had a very negative reaction and was overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and poverty that was everywhere. Though I had done my homework beforehand, I was essentially unprepared for the situation we found ourselves in. It did not take me long to realize that I needed to put my faith in action, so I prayed harder and depended more on God to take control of the situation and help me to adjust my reactions. I thought long and hard about my surroundings as I prayed, and was somewhat surprised at how well this worked. By the third day, I was much more comfortable and had adjusted to our new reality. I have never forgotten the experience.
Depending entirely on God completely changed my perspective. The spiritual battle we live in became real for me in a new way and has since caused me to try to maintain that attitude. Two weeks later on our return to Canada, I had a whole different reaction to events at home. We arrived just after the shootings at Columbine; the spiritual battle was then much clearer to see.
Bad things do happen to good people, but that is when the rubber meets the road. That is when God can tangibly come alongside us and hold us up. Our reactions can show others that we are different and truly have something they want.
Second, we are to show God's love to others at all times. We are called to make a difference and to be our brother's keeper. This means we need to be looking for opportunities to share what we have been given, and to give a cup of cold water to those who need it.
Mark 12: 30-31 says, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
We are called to be channels of Christ's love in our world. We must be salt and light so that others will be drawn to Jesus through our example. Jesus expects it. This is part of our job here on earth.
Finally, rejoice! You are a child of the King. Be full of thanksgiving. Never be consumed by what you think you see or hear around you. Remember, Jesus is Lord.
James 5: 13-16 tells us, “Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come & pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, & the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other & pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power & produces wonderful results.”
By: Lynne Willoughby
Enjoy this beautiful rendition of “Hold us Together” by Matt Maher performed on the “Glory Revealed Tour” and featuring Mac Powell from Third Day, Mike Donehey from Tenth Avenue North, and more.