Last night I saw an interview that Baltimore Ravens tight end, Benjamin Watson gave. This interview led me to look at his facebook post that prompted the interview: “Over this week while we have been driven to our knees as countless voices invoke prayer, I am haunted by the fact that this very exercise is forbidden in this school and thousands of others across our nation. I ask myself, “If He is God in crisis is He not also God in peace?! If He is worthy of our desperate cries in distress is He not worthy for us to seek Him and submit our lives to Him daily?”
God is not a cosmic vending machine to be used at our disposal only when the problem or pain is greater than our ability to control it. And while because of His love and mercy He is compelled to hear our pleas and meet us in these times, by forcing Him out of the public arena it is only us who will collectively suffer.
In times like this, we loudly reiterate the charge to each citizen to RESPECT LIFE yet we sanction the disintegration of our families bonds, the murder of our unborn children and the excessive incarceration of our young men. Even now, the climate in this country is tense and toxic, with accusations and conspiracy reaching the highest levels of our government. Insults without contrition are spewed, creating ripples of animosity, vengeance, and strife among the populace. Instead of staunch fundamental yet respectful disagreement with the other side, we hate the other side and have no qualms about expressing it in the most descriptive and vile ways in written and spoken word. We are too proud to apologize and too angry too forgive. We lie and omit truth, cleverly selecting words and phrases to fit our narratives and support our agendas. We encourage a lifestyle of relativism, free expression, and a capricious standard of morality that is based on whims rather than wisdom. We condone and sometimes celebrate violence and abuse in various forms.
While justice demands this young man in Parkland Florida be held accountable for the heinous plan he carried out by his own volition, we must have the courage to take an honest assessment of our culture in its totality and how it relates to this tragedy and others like it.
I pray. For comfort, strength, healing, justice and peace in what has proven to be an increasingly recurring saga. These acts of violence indict the criminal as well as the society he emerged from. While we must address the individual incident, the perpetrator and the circumstances we must have the willingness to unveil the myriad contributing factors to the crisis we are in. Fire arms legislation, security, parenting, family, rights, relativism, morality, media, conflict, violence and the wicked human heart all play a role and all must be boldly addressed.”
In the interview he said: “When I look at this young man I see that a lot of people like him are suffering. How can I reach out to him? How can I share the love and hope of Christ with him? How can I listen to him? A lot of times because of the culture we’re in–we’re on our cell phones; we are not paying attention to who is around us; we are unwilling to communicate with others, and so they feel like they are isolated.”
That got me to thinking this morning in my quiet time with the Lord, how does He see us? What does He see in others that we are missing? And then I came to the following Scripture: “Seeing the people, He [Jesus] felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and, dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.'” (Matt. 9:36-38)
It’s time as Christians that we stop sitting on the sidelines, talking about what we think others should be doing. Think about who “the others” are–they may in fact be doing their part to bring about chaos and darkness. We have the answer to the hope of the world, and it’s time we began sharing it boldly. We aren’t all preachers, but we all know the hope, love, peace and joy that comes only from our faith in Jesus Christ. We can be kind; we can let others know that we see them and we care; we can ask if they would like us to pray with them. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20) What will you do today to shine the light of Jesus to others? Tomorrow may be too late.