Walk as Children of Light

Chaos. Anarchy. Assault on Democracy. This is how news outlets around the world reacted to the U.S. Capitol riots last night. Fear, worry, anger and shame is what we may sense in our hearts as we watch these events unfold. How can this be our country? How did we get here? And what do we do now?

Not Okay

The troubles in this world are innumerable. The injustices are too many to count. The evil that exists in our hearts and in our world is beyond description. There are many realities that are simply not okay.

It’s not okay to invade the Capitol with Christian flags and a “Jesus 2020” banner. It’s not okay to call it a Christian duty to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. It’s not okay to march the Confederate flag through the hallways of the U.S. Congress. It’s not okay to welcome violence when it supports someone’s cause. It’s not okay that millions of babies are being aborted. It’s not okay that racial injustice exists. It’s not okay for people to violently revolt against those who selflessly serve and protect them.

These things are not okay. But they are also not surprising.

Not Surprising

Fight or flight. As defined in one psychological text, the fight or flight response is an automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening. In the wake of a difficult year and on the heels of a volatile election, people are scared. Scared of what they might lose in the face of change. Scared of what it might cost them to stand firm in their beliefs. Scared that they may not be able to protect this version of heaven on earth that they have fought so hard to obtain.

It’s not surprising because of what we read in Scripture. In James 4:1–2 we read, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”

People do what they do because they want what they want. In this instance, people want control. People want the illusion of security. People want power. People want their values protected at all costs. And as they fail to obtain what they so desperately desire, what is the result?

Murder. Fighting. Quarrelling. This is exactly what we see in our country right now. Perhaps this is what you see in your home or with your family and friends.

None of this is surprising. So how should we respond?

Not Shaken

We should respond with an unshakeable faith that causes us to spend ourselves for the glory of God and the good of others. We should remember that “our God is in the heavens and he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). We should remember Psalm 46:10 where the Lord tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” We should put into practice Philippians 4:6–7, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We shouldn’t be shaken. We should be humble. We should be bold. We should continue to faithfully serve the Lord in the work that he has put before us today. We should pray “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:2). We should remember that we are strangers and exiles here who seek a better country—a heavenly country (Hebrews 11:13–16). We should remember that we belong to a “kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28–29).

Let This World Know You by Your Love

As God’s people, we are called to be salt and light in this decaying and dark world. As followers of Jesus, we should faithfully witness to the transforming power of the gospel by responding rightly in the midst of such tragedies. We read in Ephesians 5:8–9, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” Are we seeking to please the Lord in our response to these events? Let’s walk as children of light.

The church has been provided with yet another opportunity to show that we are a people at peace in the midst of chaos. Another opportunity to show that we are a dependent people as we cry out to the Lord for His mercy and help. Another opportunity to point to the sufficiency of Christ over all things. Another opportunity to demonstrate the powerful unity that Christ creates in His body. Another opportunity to show that we are Jesus’ disciples by our love for one another and our love for the world around us.

Let’s let the Lord build His kingdom. Let’s let the world know that we belong to His kingdom by our love.