Saturday, December 5, 2015

I'm the Problem

Another shooting. Another tragedy. And from what I can observe, those who have national level platforms are not turning towards each other in desperation, aching to find a solution. Instead they've quickly set up their camps and and have started lobbing bombs of their own.

And we wonder why there is so much violence?

When will we finally turn towards? When will we stop pointing fingers and blaming? Where are the leaders that refuse to accuse everyone else of causing the problem? Where are the ones who will finally stand up and say, "I'm the problem! It's my fault!"

Where are the Daniels and Nehemiahs? Who will tear their clothes in repentance, confessing their sins and the sins of the nation?

No one?


As long as we see the problem as "out there" instead of "in here," we will not find peace.

Years ago the London Times ran an essay contest where they asked people to respond to the question, "What's Wrong With the World?" The great theologian G. K. Chesterton wrote this famous response:

Dear Sir,

I am.

G. K. Chesterton

I see many Christians postulating that the problem is that our country has turned its back on God, that we as a nation have turned away from him. I think that still makes it someone else's problem. With this approach the Christian takes exception--everyone else, the worldly, humanistic Americans are at fault. This is far from the humble reply of Chesterton, who owned the sickness himself.

The great leader Nehemiah, when he hears that Jerusalem lies in ruin, doesn't point fingers and say, "Why can't those Israelites get it together?" No. He counts himself among the guilty, praying, "I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's family, have committed against you."

Including myself. Nehemiah wasn't even living in Jerusalem at the time, and yet, he counted himself among the guilty.

Church, this is not the time to stand up and point fingers. Praying for our country IS a valuable thing. But God has been clear since the beginning of time that faith without works is dead. Nehemiah prayed, and then he went to Jerusalem to build a wall. What else will we do?

Psalm 34:14 says to "seek peace and pursue it."

Hint: Neither insisting on the importance of gun rights nor proclaiming the need for greater gun control are means of seeking peace and pursuing it. They are exactly the opposite. When we cannot humble ourselves enough to come together to find a solution we are not seeking peace, we are prolonging violence.

The old hymn says, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."

Who will be bold enough to question their own stance? Who will dare to imagine that their current point of view might be flawed? Who might be creative enough to imagine that the solution is beyond the current set of proposed possibilities? Who is courageous enough to turn towards those who have an opposing view and listen, not with the intent to refute, but with the desire to learn?  If we all continue to believe that our current way of thinking is holy, right, and good, then we will, each one, miss the conviction of the Holy Spirit that might reveal where we are wrong. And we are wrong. Every one of us.

What is wrong with the world?

I am.

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