God asked, where have you come from?
Satan answered, from roaming through the earth, and walking around on it |Job 2:2|.
This was the beginning of a conversation between God and Satan about Job, a man described as righteous, and full of integrity.
While reading the text, I noticed that Satan is identified as an adversary, and the accuser. The Bible also describes him as a thief, killer and destroyer |John 10:10|.
In the garden of Eden, Satan accused God of not wanting Eve to know more, which made his offer all the more appealing. While in conversation with God, he accused Job of being a self serving righteous man, which was to say that Job was only upright because God had blessed him. The divisive plans of Satan is seen throughout history in the form of haves and have nots. The kings and servants, masters and slaves, and corporate/political systems built to serve one group more favorably than others. We see it in the ingrained ideologies that systemically remove seats from key tables for certain groups, thus limiting access. We see it in labels informed by social narratives that have carried on for generations, drawing red lines of separation between groups, thus minimizing contact, and disallowing meaningful interaction and dialogue. We are seeing it today, with the prevailing collective mentality of Us vs Them, and the unfounded belief that unity means uniformity.
Division was never God’s plan. In fact, Jesus passionately expressed His desire for unity in John 17:23. The Bible is replete with verses that advocate being of one mind (unity), living in peace and harmony. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone, Roman 12:18. I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other, 1 Cor.1:10. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace, Ephesians 4:3. Satan however inhabits division, and continues to roam the earth in search of opportunities to sow seeds of discord. We have to fight for peace, which includes fighting for justice.
Like y’all, I have listened to, and participated in many hard and uncomfortable conversations this past week. It was like putting up a mirror, and I wasn’t all the way ready for some of what I saw. After George Floyd’s murder hit the airwaves, I went to God in prayer, filled with rage. I prayed for everyone, but halfheartedly for the police men. I prayed for healing, and comfort, and I prayed, Lord let hearts turn to you, so that you can go in there, flip tables, uproot every lie and all else that does not glorify you. I also prayed, Lord help me manage my emotions, and please Lord help me see my blind spots. I remember asking the latter so clearly. Well, He answered and with swiftness.
In a few short days, I have seen that I am not perfect (#duh!), and that in many ways I have been a part of the problem. For one, indifference. It’s like you know that there is this big bad wolf lurking, but you feel ill equipped to attack it, so you take other routes to avoid it. You do it long enough, and it becomes acceptable habit. God showed me that it’s not. He also placed the spotlight on my biases, some of which I didn’t even know were there, and He helped me see just how clouded my lens is. He didn’t go easy on me because as He lovingly reminded me, I am light in the world. Through the words of Miles McPherson, author of The Third Option, He also reminded me that we are all made in His image, including the police officers, and every self proclaimed racist and bigot, and for that reason alone, all are deserving of salvation. Thus, my role is not to judge, but to take a God-centered approach to being part of the solution. I do not have the full picture of what that looks like, but I already know its going to be a walking on water type scenario. So I’ll just have to trust Him.
This week has been painful. But maybe this is just what the human race needed, a push to lift up the carpet, and reveal all the now congealed dirt we’ve been sweeping under it for far too long. Also the golden opportunity to see that ‘we actually have more commonalities than differences’, Miles McPherson.
We cannot deny what happened, and what is.
Slavery stole from a group of people. Yes, it was years ago, but here we are still grappling with the consequences of that sin. For the sake of future generations, it is worth flipping tables to get to the heart of the matter. It is worth having uncomfortable conversations to understand what it is like walking in the shoes of a black body. Above all, in this fight for justice and equality, it is worth linking arms, and leading with grace, compassion and love, because that is the heart of God.
Yes, He knows that on our own it’s a tall order, but this is why we have the Holy Spirit. He is both sugar and spice. Counselor and power. Friend and advocate, and much more.
God isn’t saying don’t be angry, we see Him angry at many points in the Bible. In fact, in the book of Matthew, Jesus flipped tables. He did so because He was angry that His Father’s temple had been turned into a den of thieves. What God says is, direct your anger accordingly, take a stand, but don’t let the sun go down on it |Eph. 4:26|.
Because He knows that the adversary, and accuser, the one whose only mission is to steal, kill and destroy will use it as a way to sow hate, and maintain discord.
Here in lies my hope, that as said in Ephesians 1:10, at the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ – everything in heaven and on earth, and I for one look forward to this day with joy!
Isn’t it wild though that we started off at Genesis, in the Old Testament and ended up in Ephesians in the New Testament? This tells me that God is in everything. We only have to seek, to see.
Conversations I enjoyed listening to:-