Devotional for Tuesday June 2nd

Good Morning Everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Think for yourself”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” Matthew 12:25 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “United we stand, divided we fall.”
 
The devotional messages for yesterday and today were not the way I envisioned beginning this series on “Think for yourself”. However, my plans have been overcome by events. The rioting taking place across our nation, and the Christian response to it, bears more comment.
 
Yesterday I noted that the riots are being fueled by a mob mentality as violent agitators exploit a tragic situation and play on people’s emotions. While I doubt that true Bible-believing Christians are rampaging through the streets burning buildings and attacking police, there are Christians who are adding to the overall anger and tension by the things they’re posting and sharing on social media. Some of those angry and mean posts side with the rioters, but most of them express anger and even fury about the rioting. That’s understandable but it’s not helpful. No rioter is going to stop rioting simply because you posted or shared an angry rant on Facebook. However, calm words of reason may be helpful for everyone. That could help to settle people down a little.
 
Last night I heard a commentator on a news show share what I believe was a deeply insightful and helpful perspective on this situation. He noted that literally everyone was appalled at the video of the killing of George Floyd. I’m not aware of anyone who thought the actions by that police officer were okay. Across the spectrum of race, age, gender, religion, and all other demographics, everyone was united in their grief and anger over that senseless death.
 
That shared sense of grief and loss was a national unifying issue and it could have served as the catalyst for meaningful change. That’s what happened in the 60s during the Civil Rights movement. The brutal images of peaceful protestors being attacked by police dogs, blasted with high pressure fire hoses, beaten bloody and dragged off to jail, galvanized and united an entire nation across demographic lines, and it resulted in deep systemic change with regards to racism in America. This is how the Civil Rights Act ended up as law. The death of George Floyd did have, and perhaps still has, the potential to have that same kind of galvanizing and unifying impact – except that it has been hijacked and exploited by anarchists and criminals – and that’s what has created the situation we now find ourselves in.
 
The police officer who killed George Floyd is being held accountable and justice is in the process of being served. Also, increasing levels of law enforcement action is being applied to deal with the violence and the rioting. So, those issues are being appropriately dealt with and therefore require no direct involvement on our parts. Let the justice and law enforcement institutions do their jobs to take care of those aspects of this.
 
I believe the thing for Christians to do now is to (1) Pray for peace in our land; (2) Think for yourself. Refuse to allow your mind and heart to be hijacked by a mob mentality (especially on social media); and (3) Do your part to refocus everyone’s attention on the thing that initially united us – the unjust nature of this man’s death. We all agree it shouldn’t have happened, we are all grieved that it did, and we would all like to see changes come about that ensure things like this don’t happen anymore. Let’s focus on that and build on it.
 
“United we stand, divided we fall” is more than just the clever lyric to a popular song. It’s an important Biblical truth (as expressed by Jesus in Matthew 12:25). We need to refocus on what unifies us as a nation, and it needs to start with you and me.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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