I’m in quarantine. Covid’s come to our house. We’ve been mildly impacted with only minor symptoms. For that I’m grateful. It’s slowed the week down, but it’s not turned the week off. I’ve tuned in just like many of you. For those of us hoping 2021 would be far different that 2020, well, uhm well, not yet.
These few words will not be comprehensive. Much has happened, and much needs to be said. Many wiser than me have and will interact with these events and need to do so. I’m simply expressing three pressing thoughts I haven’t been able to escape.
First, I’m reminded, convicted, and encouraged that the Scriptures will always ring true. The simple yet profound principles of Proverbs 15:1 have been shown over and over again by all sides of this political and media fervor.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Click baiting, race baiting, exaggerating, misrepresenting and lying have all been shouted in the form of “harsh words” from so many different sides. It’s become clear to me that in the world of social media snippets and grab-your-eye videos, we’ve lost the beautiful, mundane, non-pretentious peace of “soft answers” and all of us are paying for it. Christian, please return to the gentle and loving and gracious ways of Jesus in ALL your words.
Second, I’m grieved, concerned, and cautioned by the censorship of our president on Twitter. Regardless of your views of his tweets or words or positions, we enter a dangerous slide when censorship rules the day. We are watching freedoms erode right before our eyes. The loss of our ability to discuss our differences with candor, honesty, and gentleness (see my first thought), has led to the silencing of voices that aren’t wanted or respected. As Dr. Danny Akin wisely warned via Twitter himself,
“I also abhor censorship and any infringement upon free speech unless absolutely necessary. We must be careful and wise: today we applaud the censor of others. Tomorrow they may censor us.”
It’s only a matter of time until we see the the censorship police squelch out other voices they don’t like. That reality should make all of us uncomfortable.
Third, I’m excited, encouraged, and burdened with the responsibility to be about Jesus’ kingdom work. All this stuff tempts us to take our eyes off of the main thing. It’s important we wade through it, pray through it, and weigh it upon the scales of the Word and the Spirit. It’s important we don’t bury our heads in the sand. It’s important we live in the world and not of it. It’s important we are wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
It’s also preeminently important we don’t miss this front-and-center command:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””
Matthew 28:19-20 ESV
Regardless of president, king, rule, government, context, culture, security, economy, season in life, health, or preference, I’m to be about making disciples. Those words were required of Jesus’ first followers when the religious of Israel sought to crush their movement. They were required of Jewish and Gentile Christians thrown to the lions and murdered by gladiators under Roman persecution. They were required of zealous missionaries like Carey and Judson and Moon who took the gospel to dark, lost nations where — in many ways — religious freedom was non-existent. They were required of slave-owning church members of a bygone day in the US who erred grievously because they were blinded by culture and economic pulls they couldn’t (or wouldn’t see).
These words are now required of Bible-believing followers who lean left on social issues or right on economic issues. These words are now required of Bible-loving Christians regardless of who you voted for, what skin color you have, or what language you speak.
I’m to be about the Great Commission — the work of Jesus making me anew as His disciple and handing that off to others in desperate need of His same transformation and His same grace. That’s got to be front and center. That’s got to have first importance. That’s got to grab—and keep— my attention.
These aren’t all the words needed about this crazy start to 2021. But for me, they are a therapeutic start to keep my eyes and heart in the right place, upon the right focal point, and with the rightly placed zeal. Perhaps you’ll find a little clarity or a little therapy in them too.