Things Will Get Better

June 3, 2020


Leadership Notes

My wife and I have been jigsaw puzzling throughout this quarantine. It is great fun and therapy. Most people, when they do a jigsaw puzzle, start with the border. It makes sense to set the frame before moving on to the inside parts.


As if 2020 weren't bad enough, what with the pandemic and quarantine, with the murder of a handcuffed and unarmed man, there is the concomitant rioting and lawlessness. While recent events break our hearts, they should not surprise us. Human life is peppered by what we've been looking at in the last few weeks as we've tackled Paul's thoughts on sin and redemption in his letter to the Romans. These things happen within the context of sin. Human depravity is on display in our broken and fallen world.


Sometimes, in order to better understand something, it's helpful to examine their separate pieces. Isolate the parts from the whole.


In no particular order {of size or importance}:

  • There are toxic people in every profession. Change happens when good people do something. If you're unwilling to root out the bad apples, you're part of the problem.

  • Bad police officers are equal opportunity abusers.

  • Roland G. Fryer, Jr., professor of economics at Harvard University, did a study of police shootings. He found that racial bias does not appear to be a factor with regard to police using lethal force.

  • What Fryer did find is that police were more likely to use non-lethal force minority civilians, even in situations where the person stopped was compliant.

  • There is a take-away from Fryer's research that speaks to where our culture is today. It indicates there is much work to be done to build bridges between people of different experience and backgrounds. Because a disproportionate number of black men are roughed up" by the police, black disillusionment with society and law enforcement has grown. Low-level uses of force are one reason why many believe the world is corrupt.

  • There are people legitimately and peacefully gathering to encourage change. This is a good thing.

  • Most of the unrest is spread by opportunistic fascist groups. Some people just want to see the world burn. This is a bad thing.

  • The damage, looting, and lawlessness is heartbreaking. The WW2 Memorial in Washington, D.C. was defaced. I cannot wrap my mind around the type of person who would do something like that. A good Calvinist word, reprobate, comes to mind. Saw a picture of a man running from a jewelry store with a handful of pearl necklaces. Saw another of a woman triumphantly fleeing a Cheesecake Factory holding an entire cheesecake. And in a not-surprising-irony, read about looters in California fighting over their stashes of loot. Hardly blows for peace and change. Just more sin manifested as narcissism and selfishness.

  • If you are a devoted follower of Jesus Christ striving to live according to Galatians 5:22-23, you truly are a foreigner and stranger in this land. Never forget what sets you apart.

  • Jon Jones, a UFC fighter, took spray cans away from a looter. Here's part of what he said: "As a young black man trust me I'm frustrated as well but this is not the way. We are starting to make a bad situation worse. If you really got love for your city, protect {it}."

  • Much love and respect to all the people in all of these places who have shown up to clean up and repair the damage done. They are examples of the goodness and resilience of the human spirit.

If you spend too much time focused on the horribleness, it will wreck you. Most people have spent the past two months making huge sacrifices for the health and well-being of all of us. Huge sacrifices, at great cost to so many. There is much good in the world. Keep focused on doing and being the good you want to see in the world. That's where change happens.


Make no mistake. Life can be messy. Made that way by our sinful nature. We've spent some quality time these past several weeks in Paul's letter to the Romans addressing the depth of our depravity and God's answer. People need Jesus. That's the only way out. When you are in Christ, your life begins to reflect his love and grace and mercy and the fullness of his teachings. That's what our broken world needs.


Over these past months, I've been asked - on more than one occasion - if I think all this stuff happening is a sign of the end times. To which I reply, "Nope…nope…nope." They are signs of original sin; our fallen nature. The only solution is Jesus.


There are many pieces to life. It can be hard to put together. But when we are bordered about on all sides by the power and presence of Jesus Christ, we will make our way. Sometimes it will be messy. Confusing. And we'll never have the perfect and completed picture this side of heaven. And that's okay. Because we're going to continue to make a difference in our little corner of the world. As we live out of the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23, things will get better, one changed life at a time.


With Much Love and Affection,


Richard

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