The LORD tests the righteous,
but His soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
I decided to break my regular pattern of blog posts and run a Scripture reference for the entire weekend, rather than just on Sunday ... because I think we desperately need this one. I cannot imagine any human being (with a heart) who is not grieved over what the people of this nation are experiencing. I am going to address my emotions and my perceptions honestly -- no political correctness and no preconceived opinions or judgments; just trying to come to terms with what I'm seeing and what my faith is telling me.
Last week we witnessed two horrific shootings of black men by white police officers. Yes, we do not have all the facts yet, but at this point, I'm willing to say that the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were unprovoked and unwarranted. And, I am also willing to say this: the actions of those police officers who were involved in those deaths directly contributed to the anger and violence in Dallas on Thursday, which resulted in the assassination of five law enforcement officers, the injury to at least seven more, and the panic, fear, and anxiety of not only those in the vicinity of the shootings, but of the entire nation. To say we are a people on edge, is to put it mildly.
And the hate and violence between the races saddens me deeply. Not only because the color of one's skin is such a stupid reason to hate, but because Jesus, Himself, tells us, Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another (Matthew 24:10). I'm afraid that the "then" He is talking about is now. We must all admit that racism exists; by all races. Is the frustration within the black community warranted? I can understand it. Do the police have a difficult job in gang and drug-infested neighborhoods? I don't think it can be denied. But how does this escalating hatred and violence solve any of those problems?
In the coming days and weeks, we will hear the media (both corporate and social), our government leaders, and every form of public analysis and commentary give us their theory on why we are at this point in our race relations, and who is at fault. But it is as clear as day to me, at least, that this hatred is being fomented, and I mean that in all the various connotations of that word -- instigated, incited, provoked, agitated, excited, stirred up, whipped up, encouraged, and urged -- all for the purpose of having the flames of hatred fanned.
Most people will see this only from a racial slant and will be unable to see beyond the black and white of it ... literally. Then there will be those who will be called conspiracy theorists, but who are able to see this from the perspective of the physical realm. They will declare that the Puppet Masters of the Global Elite are pushing us towards a race war in order to achieve their goal of world domination. And, finally, there will be a few like me who see the Biblical prophecy of our Lord coming true. We discern that this is all about the Enemy spreading his hate, in defiance of God's love. And hate breeds the violence that we are seeing coming at us from all sides.
And it is so unnecessary! When you get right down to it, the only difference between people of different colors is the amount of melanin in their skin. Jesus created us all in His image, and truth be known, our Savior was born a Jew, born in the Middle East, and He far more resembles the various skin tones of the black race than He does my skin color. But the enemy of mankind has taken that one element of difference among men and used it to foment violence in our midst. And guess what? The ranks of the wicked come in all colors! But this Scripture clearly says that God hates those who love violence; therefore, when violence is committed against anyone, regardless of their color, it is violence against a human being who is made in God's image.
That's why it is incumbent upon us, at this time, to concentrate on a very important aspect of God's character: He hates violence! That's what Psalm 11:5 clearly states. But note what it also says: He tests the righteous! It is at times like this, when hatred and violence are stirred up, that we must not give in to the temptation to hate. And none of us are perfect, so our Adversary will use the wicked to commit heinous crimes to stir up our emotions and feelings of hatred. The devil wants us to retaliate; to repay insult, injury, and death in kind. That is what most people expect and it is their natural reaction. That's the response of worldly people.
But we are called by Jesus to practice non-retaliation -- as difficult as that might be when violence is perpetrated upon you personally. I will admit; refusing to respond to such hatred as we've witnessed in the last few days is not easy. Love is not the natural answer to hate ... but it's the only one that neutralizes satan's intended goal. And that's what Jesus did. When He was crucified, He did not retaliate by calling down Heaven's army to destroy those who committed such deadly violence against Himself. Instead, He asked His Father to forgive them, and established a way for mankind to escape the wrath they deserved ... satan's plan to defeat God's love and institute violence, hostility and bloodshed among men was forever conquered.
I have to tell you that all this is very personal for me. I have older nephews who are white police officers, and my youngest nephew is biracial and rightfully proud of his black heritage. I am equally proud of them all; they are all moral and beautiful young men, inside and out. For me, there is no difference between any of them; my love for each of them is unbiased and impartial. But I can see how satan wants to show them that there are differences between them. He would like nothing better than to put a mirror before them and have them see their reflections through the eyes of the world. I want them to see themselves -- and each other -- as God sees them. I want them (and our society) to view each other through the supernatural lens of the Holy Spirit and, as difficult as it is, to not fall prey to the violence and hatred that is corrupting the earth. I look at each of my nephews and see my flesh and blood; they are each a blessing from God, and I pray He protects and guards them from the ugliness of man's sinful ways.
At the end of the day, there's not much I can say that will end the chaos and violence that is erupting across our land. I know it sounds simplistic and naive to say that the Peace of Jesus and the Love of the Father is the answer, but .... it is! We must trust in the Holiness and Righteousness of God, and let Him be Judge of the wicked, having faith that He will do it. Putting our trust and faith in the justice of man will only disappoint us. But I pray for the violence to end, and for mankind to reflect the love of our Creator. In these difficult times He must be our hope; we must let Him wipe our tears and console our souls; and He must be our security. Only in Him will all people be able to come together and love each other as we are meant to do.