What I Read Today:
Romans 2; Matthew 2; Isaiah 2; Psalm 61; 2 Chronicles 22; Ezekiel 21
My wife grew up in southeastern Wisconsin. After I left the military, we relocated near her childhood home in Twin Lakes, WI. She has family living from Beloit, WI, into Kenosha, WI. Several of them lived or worked near the areas of violence.
Watching the violence in Kenosha last week struck a nerve with my wife and her family.
However, something I feared began happening in Wisconsin last week. In the absence of law enforcement, people began to arm themselves and take justice into their own hands. Things could have devolved quickly into anarchy. Thankfully, the authorities were able to get things under control fairly quickly.
In our reading of Romans 2, we see the apostle Paul tells us that those without God’s law living in their heart can do awful things. When we fail to understand that judgmentalism based on race or sex leads us to an attitude of moral superiority, then we fall into the trap that says I can use violence to takes something from you.
That seems to be playing itself out right in front of us.
People angry that their pleas for social justice have been ignored are now resorting to violence. That violence has been met with armed opposition. Whether it be the young man who shot two people in Kenosha or the protesters who killed a man in Portland, the violence is growing.
We are witnessing what happens when our hearts grow cold. In Heaven, our God stares down at us. He’s shaking his head.
We need a new circumcision in our society, A circumcision of our hearts. A new realization that our fellow brothers and sisters need to have their voices heard. We need to understand that no one can live in fear, whether that fear is from the government or rioters and looters.
In Paul’s time, the Roman government kept order through brute force. Civil unrest was not tolerated. The United States was founded on the principle that we would mostly be self-regulating people. It’s why the size of our government was supposed to be small.
The church needs to begin preaching to its people that God expects, no he commands, that everyone lives a life that screams Jesus to other people. A life of love that doesn’t harm a neighbor, no matter how angry we are. A life of sacrifice that puts others over ourselves.
If we can’t get back to that, then the government has no choice but to use force.