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Out Our Way: Three choices - Galatians 1:1-12

 

Out our way, pushing cows is sometimes no more difficult than going for a leisurely ride. But sometimes you have to deal with some real lunkheads who insist on breaking from the herd and racing over the ridge. Now when that happen and the herd starts to scatter as a result, you have three choices: Do nothing just yell loudly and gallop; through the herd spooking them into a stampede; or use your head, keep calm and make bringing the stray back without losing the whole herd your priority.

Now, the first two choices are the easiest. Doing nothing takes no energy. Hollering and hoorahing through the herd may make you feel better, but takes no brains. Ah, but the third choice - keeping your priorities straight and having to think how to go after the stray without losing the whole herd in the process - takes some effort.  

Seems to me, basic cowpunching 101 might be a good course for a lot of folks to take - especially some of our politicians, church leaders and celebrities. Consider these post COVID-19 riots and such that followed the brutal and inexcusable abuse of power by several cops in Minneapolis. George Floyd deserved better than that - and anyone who isn't angry and ashamed of such brutality is opting for choice #1, "do nothing." Racism exists and pretending it doesn't is an insult to the intelligence of every American. Of course it exists, and, yes, some progress has been made, but not enough. There is a lot of work still to be done.

But mere movement isn't progress when it leads in the wrong direction.

Thus we have folks who opt for choice #2: make noise and raise a ruckus, but don't address the real issues. Pointing fingers at political opponents, doing publicity stunts, calling for the defunding of law enforcement rather than address exposing and removing bad cops, etc., is like trying to get to LA from St Louis by driving east. You may be making good time, but you are going the wrong way.

Then there is choice #3. Do not ignore racism's existence, but don't just point fingers at everybody else and fail to consider your own. Racism is part of the fallen nature of humanity. It is a sin with a capital "S" - but it is part and parcel of all human beings. We all need to acknowledge and repent. That is hard work and painful, but it is the only way we can make progress. You can't climb a mountain by going downhill. 

Now, please understand, if you can, I am preaching to myself far more than I am preaching to you. God has shown me some of my own sins along this line and I am appalled. But there it is. The Gospel of Christ is about "agape," one of four Greek words we translate as "love." But agape is not a noun - it does not describe a feeling, it is a verb and describes an action. It is a brutally honest assessment of self and the incredible discovery that every human being is beloved of God regardless of race. Back lives do matter - but so do "blue lives." Those who mourn George Floyd but are indifferent or even celebratory about five cops murdered preach a false Gospel. Some rightly remind Christians of the "lost sheep" (Luke 15) and the struggle to care for the oppressed is a Christian response. But let us also recall Jesus' words about the "sheep and the goats" (Matthew 25:31-46). Those who preach a false gospel of hate and entitlement may call themselves "Reverend" and claim to represent Jesus, but they do not. "Depart from me, I never knew you." (Mathew 7:21-23)

We have three choices facing us: do nothing - follow the crowd and do the self-righteous wrong thing - or follow Christ and do the hard thing. Again. Hear me loud and clear - I am the one who needs repentance and write this as my own confession. "Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!" (Luke 18:13) 

It ain't much, but it's a start. Pray for me to keep going on choice No. 3!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Brother John

 

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