How can one read the news, today, and not feel great distress?
Are we not flabbergasted and overwhelmed at the intensity of hatred expressed from all sides?
As I reflect upon the various feelings welling up from my haggard soul, I realize the dilemma that God has woven into the fabric of life. Even though God gave birth to life, people create the atmosphere and culture within which they will live.
Like many of you, I deeply feel the confusion and frustration brought on by the task of unifying all the diametrically opposing beliefs within our diverse society. It feels insurmountable. And all the more, we’re seeing that this clash of cultures is not just differences of opinions but the seeds of a far greater battle in the soul of humanity.
And so, we see this turmoil played out on the battlefield of social media through our declarations and posting of heated words, poignant stinging posts, and the drawing of lines that breed even more the very thing we say we hate.
We can’t seem to stop it. Hate seems to be the new normal.
You may say, “I don’t hate anyone! I just want to see truth win out!” But the fruit of what we’re doing to one another reveals the true nature of our intentions.
The truth: we actually have concluded, if the other side could be overcome, or worse yet, destroyed, all of the chaos would dissipate. But instead of seeking a better solution, we keep up the so called “good fight” …which is destroying our world.
So, what shall I add to these meandering and seemingly irresolvable thoughts? Where shall I go?
Recently, I’ve been studying the book of “Revelation,” and I’ve come to realize, in a brand-new way, its potential meaning. It’s not as literal as we might suppose. It’s not really giving us a sneak peak into a dark future as much as it’s actually describing for us the true nature of the “wrath of God.”
And what I’m seeing is this: God’s wrath is far more about what He allows us to do to ourselves!
Armed with that perspective, I’ve contemplated much lately, about the coming of the “Kingdom of God.” The difficult truth is that we tend to think of the Kingdom as something coming in the future—as something that has yet to be revealed. And so, we defensively guard our current territory as if there are enemies lurking around every corner waiting to prevent the Kingdom of God’s future intrusion.
But…when we understand more accurately that the Kingdom of God has ALREADY come; that Jesus was right when He preached, “The time is FULFILLED. The Kingdom of God has COME NEAR…” (Mark 1:15, emphasis added), and later, “The Kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU.” Then, we are left with a very different mission…and perhaps, even the answer to the dilemmas and divisiveness we see in our current society.
Our work is far more about invitation than about destruction.
It’s so simple. The Kingdom already CAME. It showed up when Jesus showed up. That’s what He said!
And guess what? The reign of God is fully here, now—fully available! It’s within us! It can’t be stolen. It can’t be destroyed. If we would actually believe this, we would be free to love and give in a brand new way. We would not be at odds with those in the world. We would not see every opposing ideal as a threat but an opportunity to show people a better way.
There is no threat to the Kingdom and its advancement. Jesus established His rule. Jesus overcame and so we have already overcome. We are only left with inviting people into the awesome celebration of life.
Whether they choose it or not, is not our fight. That’s how Jesus lived. Of course, that led Him to a Roman crucifixion, but, His life was an invitation…all the way to the end.
Jesus did not seek to destroy people. But He sought “to heal, restore, and release all into their God-given story.”
What we have seen sprawled out all over the internet, stoking the fires of hatred, is not the “Gospel of the Kingdom” that Jesus preached or lived out. In the Gospels, I see crowds gathered not to destroy, but to see people set free from their bondages to disease and demonic oppression.
Jesus did not encourage revolutionaries, but those who would carry a message and the power to heal.
At the end of the day, may we look on our activity and be able to say, “I have loved like Jesus—who died to self in order to save all.”