my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:1-2, 5-7
We see the expressions of anger, we hear the cries, 'this has to stop', yet the hatred and violence continues; even as those in power speak words of condemnation, but continue to stoke the fires of division and strife. While all of this troubles me, I fear for the well-being of my children, for the world in which my grandchildren will grow up. How do we as a people of faith process all this? How do we respond to the chaos all around us?
As I thought about this, three thoughts come to mind. First, we have to remind ourselves of the truth about our humanity; that we are sinful beings. We're not just a little off-track, such that a re-alignment will fix things. We deeply flawed, unable in and off ourselves to repair our brokenness. The Bible says, The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. (Jeremiah 17:9) No call to action, to reconciliation and harmony, no legislation, law or policy revision, no program to improve mental health or provide sensitivity training, no amount of funding, no threat of punishment or increase in weaponry can change the human heart. If we do not experience the grace of God, who alone can transform the heart of a man or woman, there is no hope of lasting peace.
Secondly, we must return to the values we find in the word of God. So much of what is happening in our nation, in our world, stems from the fact that we have chosen to abandon, to ignore the truth we find in the Bible. We have failed to pass on these values to our children and ceased to be a voice for godly values in our communities; opting for a safe, comfortable 'religion'. This doesn't necessary mean we have to demonstrate on the street corner, but we can make a difference by being kind and compassionate, speaking respectfully, demonstrating common courtesy, expressing appreciation rather than complaint and giving rather than demanding.
Paul writes to the believers in Ephesus: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29, 31-32) May the words of Proverbs 21:23, from Eugene Pederson's 'The Message' speak to each of us...Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.
A simple 'thank you', can lift the spirits of so many that are feeling worn out and beat up and unappreciated. A 'how can I help', might just be a lifeline to someone who feels helpless. An 'I am here for you', may be that which gives hope to the hopeless.
Finally, we can and we must pray, for God has promised, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
My friends at Valley, I want to encourage you to speak kindly, to act with compassion, to stand firm in the truth, to pray fervently and to hold on in trust, to the One who is our refuge and strength. And maybe, just maybe, we can change our little corner of the world, as we seek to be agents of blessing; as we respond to the chaos that is our world today.