Pursue doing what is beautiful

It’s a major understatement to say 2020 is a unique year. The cultural atmosphere is full of fear of the present and anxiety over the future. But it’s not unique or scary for Jesus’ Church. Actually, this is rather mild compared to what Christians face in some parts of the world today, and what the early church faced under severe persecution.

We must remember that we belong to the ultimate counter-culture, one that subverted and transformed the Roman Empire, which was arguably both the greatest and most brutal regimes in human history. We belong to Christ’s unstoppable Kingdom! “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Isa.9:7).

Here’s what Paul said to the Thessalonian church about living in times like these:

14 We appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, to instruct those who are not in their place of battle. Be skilled at gently encouraging those who feel themselves inadequate. Be faithful to stand your ground. Help the weak to stand again. Be quick to demonstrate patience with everyone. 15 Resist revenge, and make sure that no one pays back evil in place of evil but always pursue doing what is beautiful to one another and to all the unbelievers. (1 Thess.5:14-15 TPT*)

As I said last time, this is quite the opposite of some of the insanity we’re currently witnessing in our cities. What we’re seeing is brutal harassment, revenge, and malicious hatred masquerading as social justice, as the following clip shows so graphically:

The problem with this kind of demand is that it always produces the very opposite of the desired effect. It only increases the disconnect, dividing us even further as a culture. There’s no meaningful communication going on here, just mean-spirited rants.

Here’s a tip: when you’re going to people’s homes and threatening them with your angry tirades, you can be sure they won’t be listening to you! As believers, we should already know that human anger never produces the righteousness of God (James 1:20).

The Kingdom of God moves in the opposite spirit. We’re told in the passage above that we are “be quick to demonstrate patience.” This kind of counter-intuitive patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22).

What patience does is give space for broken relationships to heal. It denies anger any oxygen to further inflame the situation. It deescalates the violence and allows the brain to go from our reptilian “fight-or-flight” instincts to the higher level of rational thought that comes from our cerebral cortex.

In other words, it extends grace to the other so communication can begin, because people in pain or in danger aren’t being rational. They’re not being their true selves while acting out of their tiny reptilian brain (only the size of a large almond!) You cannot bully anyone into listening, even if your demand is righteous. This is why rioting never works.

As followers of Christ, we’re to have no part in this; we’re told not to pay back evil for evil, which these riots are engaged in. We’re called to pursue doing what is beautiful to one another and to all the unbelievers.”

This is a variation to what Paul said to the Philippian church:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Phil.4:8-9 NIV*)

This also means we don’t keep feeding and inflaming our minds on the news and much of social media, Instead, we’re to binge on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…” and then put that into practice, for when we do, the peace of God will be with us.

Beloved, this is no small thing! The peace of God is the greatest weapon you and I have against the enemy of our soul. He is absolutely powerless to counteract it!

20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet…(Rom.16:20a NIV)

Instead of hatred and revenge, I must step back, exercising His patience, and see others as God sees them. I must remember that these are people for which He bankrupted heaven. All human beings have infinite value to God. But I can only see that when I view them from my position in Christ in heavenly places.

While we don’t bow to bullies and tyrants, we don’t view them as our enemies either. And we can only love them the way Jesus loves them if we abide in His love ourselves. Otherwise, we’re likely to just pour more gasoline on the fire. Selah.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:9-12 NIV*)

* All emphasis added.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 39 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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6 Responses to Pursue doing what is beautiful

  1. Citizen Tom says:

    I left the following here => https://rudymartinka.com/2020/08/21/blm-conundrum-king-solomon-blog/comment-page-1/#comment-24725.

    Forgiveness is always a great idea, but lawbreakers still need to arrested and jailed, and that is scriptural too.

    We call our jails penitentiaries for a reason . See https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=penitentiary.

    The idea was to give the offender time to reflect and seek repentance. Until an offender repents — regrets the sin, not just being caught –forgiveness helps only those who forgive.

    There is also another problem. Until we examine what is going on and understand the what, why, when, where, and how of a matter, we don’t know how to define the problem, much less solve it.

    We passed civil rights legislation in the 60’s. If our government had properly defined the problem, then why didn’t their solution solve the problem. Nobody was repenting? Nobody was forgiving? In fact, they created welfare programs that made poor people dependent and rewarded bad behavior. This led to huge increase in out of wedlock births. Their solutions – their generosity with other people’s money – created more problems.

    Fact is that Marxists and Socialists are exploiting racism and class envy for political purposes. These people are running much of our educational system. That’s why lots of the rioters are white, and the most interminable riots are taking place in areas dominated by whites.

    This isn’t a race problem anymore. The problem is that too many people believe outright lies.

    “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.” ― Ronald Reagan

    • Mel Wild says:

      I definitely agree with you, Tom. The radical left uses racism as the classic Marxist struggle (oppressed vs. oppressor), which is where we also get identity politics and their version of social justice. It goes back to the socialist ideology of W.E.B. Du Bois, who opposed Booker T. Washington in the early 20th century on how Black people should progress in society. What Martin Luther King stood for was more in line with Booker T. Washington, who pretty much nailed the ongoing problem right here:

      “There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”
      ― Booker T. Washington

      Washington is describing the social welfare system—purposely keeping people perpetually in bondage to your social welfare programs. Candace Owens and others called this welfare state “Slavery 2.0.”

      Unfortunately for Black Americans, Du Bois’s ideas won the cultural debate for much of Black America. Meanwhile, one-half all black babies are aborted (more than half in NYC). Margaret Sanger, proponent of eugenics and founder of Planned Parenthood, was an outright racist and wanted to control “undesirables” through abortion. She said the following:

      “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” – Margaret Sanger, letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble in December 1939

      The biggest cause of death for a black man is homicide (not racism). President Obama himself said that fatherlessness was a huge problem, leading to crime and poverty, yet the welfare program encourages it (BLM organization want to destroy the nuclear family). This, and really bad public schools, keep them in this state. Every black American should watch Larry Elder’s documentary movie, “Uncle Tom.” If I were a black man I would be very angry at what these Marxist ideologies and social engineering has done to me, and then I would walk away from them forever.

  2. Citizen Tom says:

    Looks like my comment went into spam. Guess you don’t like links.

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