In the face of a massacre of public servants doing their duty, I’m going to be the one to go ahead and point this out: we are missing it.
Our response is calculated. It’s logical. It’s largely balanced and not entirely inaccurate, but still, it must be said: we are absolutely missing it.
I’ve heard people calling for stricter laws, stiffer penalties, and more accountability. “It’s a lack of responsibility”, we say; a lack of leadership and inspiration. We rant at each other that the problem is that our response is lacking in vigor or lacking in compassion or our response on the whole creates a problem of semantics. “More unity among Americans will solve the problem,” we say, and I’m here to say this: no, it will not.
God has told us what will solve the problem and it has nothing to do with education or the rule of law or government at all. It isn’t unity, accountability, or responsibility and it is not woven together with poverty or wealth or geography or privilege. It has nothing to do with skin color
What is absolutely required in these times for these horrors is humility. Yes, the humility of the unsaved to embrace Jesus, of course, but far more so the humility of His own people in the face of the sin that will always be in the world.
“If my people who are called by my Name will humble themselves…”
You know what comes next but I think we know the verse so well that we might not know it at all. Do we recognize that the beginning of everything in this conditional promise is humility? Do we acknowledge that, without the “if”, there can be no “then”? Without humility, we’re finished before we have even started; we’re absolutely nowhere.
Anybody else out there feeling like we’re “nowhere”?
We like the end of the verse which says, “…Then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” That part is awesome! God hears us, clears us of wrongdoing, and heals us. That’s beautiful, but when, Lord? When?! We are heartbroken and desperate as we watch the times unfolding in carnality and bloodshed and we look to God to clean up the mess. I believe the answer stands in direct juxtaposition to the first half of the verse. There can be no “then” without the “if” and the “if” is this:
God wants us to humble ourselves before Him. We have to surrender the “You’re not the boss of me!” attitude to which we adhere. We claim to know our Bibles, but we just don’t like “that one part”. Whatever “that one part” is for you, we know it’s there, but we don’t want to be bothered with it. We do not properly humble ourselves - and it's killing us.
God wants us to pray and seek His face. When was the last time you put aside Facebook and iPhones and Netflix in lieu of bowing down to Jehovah and crying out, “What would you have me do, Lord?” – and then doing it? How much effort do you put into knowing God better and following Him more closely? Is it hands-down everything to us or are we executing feel-good rituals... as long as we can wedge them in there while we're drinking coffee?
God wants us to turn from our wicked ways. “What wicked ways? We’re Christians up in here!” Well perhaps we are not currently guilty of what we would consider the heinous sin of the day, but we have absolutely embraced wickedness, and the scars of that are all across our culture. The church has lost her saltiness as we have clamored after all the same idols the world is worshipping with fervor.
Personal holiness has gone out of vogue but unfortunately being in vogue has not. We Christians so closely resemble the world these days that we often don't stand out at all - and we like it that way. :( We are called to be like Jesus, and NOT like the world. Anything different is wickedness from which we should repent. Personal holiness is a foundational element because in its absence, our personal UNholiness affects everything and everyone. It’s a trickle-up effect that starts with me but then extends to my children and my marriage and my neighborhood and my church and my city and my nation. It is brutally affecting our nation.
Instead of personal holiness, we Christians have embraced personal choice (just as the world has done – sound familiar?). There are too many examples to cite but it comes down to this: too often our attitude as believers is, “I love you, Jesus (and I totally dig your music), but you aren’t the boss of me”. Dear ones, this is the same prideful mentality that is destroying our world through corruption and terrorism and racism. Now, because the church has embraced it as well, the light grows dim and the saltiness is fit only to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
So then, where is hope for a dying world? Where is hope for the future of God’s people in this land? If the light is dim and the salt is no longer salty, the church can no longer serve Him properly as ambassadors to a broken world! Of course, our hope was never in the church, but rather in God Himself. What would it look like to get that right again?
It is there for us at the beginning of the verse: “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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Who will join me?