The Violence in Our Capital Building This Week

January 8, 2021

I'm writing this to my friends and acquaintances that I interact with on a semi-regular basis. I write as a Follower of Jesus Christ, but I also write as a pastor who leads a local church. The majority of folks in my life would identify with the republican party although there are still a significant portion of you who would identify as a democrat or something other than a republican. I write to all of you, and I care about all of you. What I share now are my opinions, but also what I think is a truly Christian perspective.

I am shocked with what happened in Washington DC this week surrounding the electoral college vote (whether you think I should be is not my concern here). Those who support the actions of the rioters this week are making a grave mistake. And, those who cultivate the atmosphere that motivated the rioters have become seriously misguided in their perspective.

Some of you feel that our country is in so much trouble that these actions were warranted. Let's consider that for a moment.

It is true that our country broke away from Great Britain through this same spirit of independence and revolution. During that time, families and friends were split between the two sides. We saw another deep divide happen leading up to, during, and after our civil war. In both of these, there were conscientious Christians on both sides. In both of these, I am mostly thankful for the outcome although completely saddened by the destruction of people's lives. Clearly, there come moments in a country where these sort of drastic events take place. I do not believe our country today is anywhere near the raucous events of the revolutionary war or the civil war; however, we are inching closer, and the speed at which we are is increasing.

The fomenting of the mob like what we saw this week pours over many of the pages of history. The details of the causes, the dynamics of the contexts, and the wrongs that needed to be righted are so many that we are not able to process them all. In fact we have so much media coverage today, we are not able to process everything happening in a single day. A fact of life is that every news reporter, no matter how much integrity, will have a perspective with how they give the news. That means, not only are we not able to process all the news reports, how much more are we not able to process them because we cannot fully take into account the reporter's perspective.

Do we just give up and stick our heads in the sand? Do we fully engage and fight for the cause we think is right even though we cannot fully understand it?

Both, I believe, are unhealthy for our country, but also wrong for the Christian. Yes, the history pages contain many a fomenting mob which billows up, wreaks havoc, and washes away to be no more, leaving others to pick up the mess; however, the reason we have a today with the health and prosperity that we do have is because we stand on the shoulders of those who took responsible, timely, and sacrificial action in their arena of life - no matter how small or how large that arena.

You may feel that our country is in trouble. I don't disagree with you. However, I challenge you to consider a more responsible, timely, and sacrificial concept for addressing the problem. Because of human nature, everybody caries with them a propensity for mistreating other people. The easiest disposition for you and I will always include a wrong attitude, actions, and reactions to people around us. It is always hard to treat other people around us responsibly and considerately. I could include much more than just these factors, but these are enough to make the point.

Our country may continue in the wrong direction in your opinion. Such is the way of kings and kingdoms. Make a choice that you will treat the people in front of you today, the ones you can see and touch, with kindness and decency - no matter if you agree with them or not. Stop getting caught up with situations beyond your influence and likely beyond your ability to process.

I am not advocating that you stick your head in the sand. This is not my point at all. To treat the people within your direct sphere of influence responsibly is the starting point for the troubles in our nation.

In fact, if we go a little deeper into the Christian perspective, it starts with a relationship with the one true God which then moves next to a proper relationship with our neighbors.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40 NIV)

Having a proper relationship with God and our neighbors may or may not save our country. The Christian perspective teaches that there is a greater kingdom that followers of Jesus Christ are a part of. We know ultimately that all world kingdoms will perish, and Jesus will return to setup his kingdom.

The Christian perspective also teaches that in the meantime, there is a spirit-world, spiritual warfare. The kingdom of darkness is waging a war that we cannot see. This war is bigger than the United States of America. This does not mean that we do not care about our country. But it does mean that we are not to confuse our priorities. We can live our lives loving God and loving our neighbors, choosing not to join the foment. There will be times when the foment leads to outright war and conflict. Those are messy times, and they are hard to sort out for everybody. What we must choose to do is not irresponsibly contribute to the foment. We will make our mistakes, but we can chose by God's grace to make things right, and continue to live with God's priorities.

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