What are we looking at today? Is it the conflict that seems to be increasing in the world, or our seeming inability to be able to control and overcome the problems we are facing in life?
Are we focused on all the negative stories that we are constantly being bombarded with in the media? Or have we learnt the keys that lead to a life filled with peace and hope?
Divide and Conquer
There is a growth of movements and causes within the world whose actions and dialogue seek to place each of us into one or another group. Each group advocates that we should be outraged by the actions of another group and blames them for doing or not doing something either recently or in the past. They proclaim that we should continue to feel shame for something that someone did hundreds of years ago, and yet they personally feel no shame for their own words and actions today.
Outrage is their weapon of choice and is a highly effective way of manipulating the masses, because if one side can seem more offended than the other then they can claim the moral high ground. It’s effectiveness comes from the basis that most people seek to live in peace with their fellow man and when being accused of failing in that endeavour, will act quickly in an attempt to redress any problem.
In a world of diverse cultures and beliefs such as ours it is impossible to agree with everybody on every subject, and yet disagreement does not automatically mean that we should be in conflict with the other party.
It is possible and indeed desirable when we meet someone with differing views on any subject to be mature enough to "agree to disagree" with them.
The Blame Game
And the Lord said, “To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, saying:
‘We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not weep.’
As we see in these words of Jesus from Luke's gospel, things haven't changed all that much over the last 2,000 years. It is a sign of emotional immaturity to get upset when others don't all act the way you want them to, and we expect that from children because they are still growing and learning in life.
However if we as an adult continue to act the same way as we did when we were children, then we have for some reason failed to mature emotionally.
Blaming or shaming others simply because they refuse to believe what you believe or act the way you want them to act is a classic method of manipulation.
Personal or Corporate Responsibility?
The concept of personal responsibility dictates that each individual should be held accountable for their own actions, and indeed this is a biblical principal shown in the fact that we shall all stand before God and give an account of the lives we have lived upon His created world.
(2 Corinthians 5:10)
For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
When you raise your hand to point the finger at someone else for their failures, remember that there are numerous fingers pointing back at you!
“Judge not, that you be not judged.
The concept of corporate responsibility works within the boundaries of a corporate business and is indeed desirable to keep them accountable to the public. However the concept of corporate responsibility when applied to the general public is only as positive as the individual causes being espoused.
We all have a responsibility to live peaceably within our communities and society, and when we do all members of that society benefit from it. However if a cause is being espoused that is seen as detrimental to a large group of individuals or society in general then it should be rejected.
Forced Conformity Through Shaming
The tactics being used widely within society and especially within many media outlets is to continue to browbeat the general population into accepting misguided ideologies through publicly shaming those who disagree with the opinion advocated by those running their organisation. Fearing the sheer weight and influence that the media outlets wield today within society, it is understandable why many individuals choose to remain silent and keep their opinions to themselves.
However just because many choose not to aggressively demonstrate and march in protest does not mean that their opinions and choices are irrelevant. Law abiding citizens within a democratic society are given the opportunity to have their say by using their vote on election day, and as we have seen numerous times recently it is often the silent majority that can substantially influence election results.
The tactics being used widely within society and especially within many media outlets is to continue to browbeat the general population into accepting misguided ideologies through publicly shaming those who disagree with their opinion
The Christian Response
It is wonderfully encouraging to realise that believers in Jesus Christ have a citizenship that awaits them in heaven, and that we are specifically told not to fret when we see the world system collapsing about us. Jesus told us that these things would come in the last days, but that we should not fear them, but rather set our hearts desire more fully on the Kingdom of God which will soon be revealed.
for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons.You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls.
How then should we respond when we see the constant deterioration of our society and the espousal of ideologies that are extremely counter-productive within a stable society?
Physical Presence but Heart Separation
There is no doubt that when Jesus Christ came into the world that He spoke of the dual existence of the believer. God's children continue to be present physically within the world but experience a reality of God's presence within their hearts and lives which attests to another and greater existence within the Kingdom of God.
I believe it is important for every believer to continue the process of separation from worldly attachments within their hearts. Now is the time that we as believers are called to stand fully and solidly in the reality of God's kingdom, witnessing to the power of Christ's resurrection and shining as a light in the world. Not in any way fearful of what is coming upon the world, but looking earnestly for the reappearance of our Saviour.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
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