My Plea to Christians in Baltimore and Everywhere
Two lists. List one: Hate. Anger. Violence. Fear. Distrust. Disgust. Harshness. Ignorance. Retaliation. List two: Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness.…
Each of us lives our lives by one list or the other. As we do, we make the world what it is.
If you are a Christ follower, it means you have opened your heart to the Spirit of Jesus to live within and through you. Following Jesus means allowing his Holy Spirit to bear fruit in your life.
Some in our city of Baltimore are living by List One. There are many reasons for that. The fruit confirms their actions are not from God. You can see the fruit on the streets, on Facebook, and in the hearts and conversations of many.
It’s time to show up as God’s people. If you want to know what you can do, I have something extremely radical for you. Most are too chicken to do it. I will challenge you with it anyway. It’s time to get serious. It’s time to make a difference…It’s time to get serious. Want to know how?
You don’t have to make a lot of noise. What you do is decide to live by the Spirit for one whole day. All day. Let the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart and the actions you take be in step with God’s spirit. Look at the lists above and anytime you feel or see some fruit coming out of your life that looks more like list one, let the Spirit guide you to cut off that fruit and instead live out list two stuff.
Do this for one whole day.
Then begin again the next day.
That’s the radical thing Christians need to do right now. Live by list two. Bear good Jesus-like fruit.
There’s more you can do. You can pray like crazy (prayer meeting at Mountain Road, NLC Commons, and Epicenter campus Tuesday 4/28/2015 7 PM), you can make peace, you can be a bridge building reconciling force between authorities and youth, between races, between political enemies – be a gracist in the part of the universe in which God gives you influence. Don’t underestimate these things.
But BEFORE we try to “make a difference” in any other way, before we try to rant or comment or change the world on our terms, I beg you, live by list two.
If we want God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done in Baltimore as it is in heaven, that should probably begin with God’s people living according to the leading of Jesus.
The problems at work here are many. But we are called to live as Jesus. He has given us His Spirit. Welcome it. Receive it. Let it out through your life.
11 thoughts on “My Plea to Christians in Baltimore and Everywhere”
I think you seem to forget that these riots and looting incidents and fire setting are not done by Christians, and by that I mean true Christians…. people that actually believe in the word of God and live by it. And that is the reason these things happen. You keep talking about Christians doing the right thing and pray. Christians DO do the right things and they do pray. The problem is that we as Christians are supposed to be quiet and let people like these rioters and the evilness they bring walk all over us and do these things and then we are supposed to go and pick up the pieces. And that is the exact reason that these people do these things over and over and over, BECAUSE they are not held accountable for their actions. I truly do NOT believe that God is telling us to let these people do as they please and then just go and clean up after them. Sorry, to say this to you, Pastor, but that is how many, many people feel.
AMEN!!! What more can be said? God is the only answer to this sad, tragic situation. This is why I love MCC–living out the love of Jesus in practical ways as individuals and as the church.
Thank you Ben for your remarks…it is too easy to get caught up in the negative emotions following the riots in Baltimore – it is no more or less than mob behavior both by participating in the riots or spewing negative talk about it. Thanks again for spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Do these blogs have sharing capabilities?
Ben, thank you so much for your email and blog. Yesterday was so upsetting and scary. Unfortunately, looking back to last night, I see that I watched and responded with parts of list one. Thankfully, list two was also a part of my reaction. I have printed out the “lists” and will put them right by my computer at work, to remind me which list I don’t want to represent and which list is who I want to be everyday. My workplace is a very hard place for me…so easy to succumb to gossip, judgement, etc. So having this visual will remind me of who I am and who I serve.
It is so easy for us to turn our rudders the wrong way in this storm. It takes an extra effort to sail God’s way through turbulent seas. We can react with emotions to the rioting that are on list one. That is easy. However, we are then no different than those we curse for their civil disobedience. List two takes much effort, but God’s reward of peace is what we all are hoping to have one day anyway. Black or white is irrelevant to God, He sees souls. Maybe we need to start seeing souls like He does.
May last night be like the lancing of a boil. May we recoil in disgust and repentance at what we have become. May we repent and earnestly seek forgiveness from each other and from God. May what we experienced last night be our gateway from living in a world of list one into list two. Gods power and love are sufficient.
What clear, level-headed, spiritual direction-thank you Ben
This is my kindergarten classes news broadcast for the riots going on right outside of their homes and school. http://youtu.be/u_TqyTsOAf0
Great wisdom from a man of God who knows Who has the answers to the crises we face.