What to do Amidst the Fray?
Right now there are…
- Abortions being performed in Louisville
- Tomato pickers being oppressed in California
- Brick masons being enslaved in India
- Girls being raped for profit in the Philippines
- Husbands who are forced to work on fishing boats in the Atlantic and Pacific who will then be shot and thrown overboard after the fishing season closes
- Coffee growers being exploited in Bolivia
- Families being killed in Sudan because of the tribe they’re from
- Orphans being made in South Africa by AIDS
- Retiring missionaries not being replaced because there is not enough financial support for replacements.
- Believers being martyred in Saudi Arabia
- Political prisoners being used as lab rats for poison gas testing in North Korea
- Scientists refining nuclear fuel in Iran to be used for evil
- Homeless wandering the streets of Atlanta
- Teenagers driven into drug trafficking by poverty and peer pressure in Detroit
- Children being taught in schools in Berkley that homosexuality is as normal as heterosexuality
- Power players swinging dirty deals for political gain in Washington
- Murders happening in Tulsa
- Children sorting through heaps of garbage in Phnom Penh to keep from starving
- Kind hearted husbands and wives who want to adopt but cannot because of a lack of money
As much as they all break my heart, and the heart of every Christ-follower with me, the sad truth of the matter is that I am utterly powerless to influence almost every single one of these evils. I can tear up at the videos of starving children and be outraged at abuse and horrified at corruption, and yet none of those actually work towards any kind of solution. None work toward alleviating the suffering experienced by those who share God’s marred creation with me.
So what do we do when we stare across the landscape of our 21st century world and realize the shockwaves of the curse have crumbled to pieces far more than we could ever piece back together? Withdrawal is always an option, an option embraced at different times by different Christian groups. “If the world,” they say, “is going to hell in a handbasket, then let them go.” But this does not seem to capture the spirit of Christ declaring that what is done to the least of these is done to him. It does not seem to explain his meals with prostitutes and tax collectors and consistent seeking out of those marginalized by society.
It is here in acts of Christ we see how we might seek to both roll back the curse and not lose our sanity as we stare down the enormity of evil clutching our world. Wherever Christ went, he did good. He did not journey to Rome and topple the pagan Roman government. But he did cast out demons from Roman soldier’s sons. He did not topple the corrupted Sadducee’s stranglehold on the temple economy. But he did clear them out twice with a whip when he was in Jerusalem.
We cannot each individually address all of the evils in our world. But we are placed in unique situations with unique interests, meant to channel our God-given abilities, gifts, and resources toward the redemption of that sphere of life. I live in a dorm of college men who aspire to be preachers. And so talk of fellowship and purity and community and doctrine and love of the brethren will dominate my time and energy. Evangelism will not. But you are in a different place. Be faithful there, and I will seek to be faithful here. And as we go and you meet the Indian refugee whose family escaped from the brick masonry slave pits, you will throw yourself into that cause. And I will meet someone else with a different past, and we will concentrate on that evil to be unwound.
We’re not individually called to address every single issue that we might within the world. Rather we’re called to do good, preach the gospel, and live out gospel implications in a contagious manner to whomever the Lord would have us meet. And I will delight in your ministry and pray for you, as you delight in mine and pray for me. Let us all seek to be faithful in our tempestuous world. We’ll see you in the fray.