The news reporter was trying to put words to the scene as he coughed and gagged during the most recent volley of tear gas. The crowd fell back just to surge forward again and the camera was capturing faces with narrowed eyes, furrowed foreheads and angry mouths trying to put words to their pain. I watched as a sheltered white woman hundreds of miles away; I couldn’t comprehend but I was trying to. I didn’t know a single face in the crowd, but these are the people that all of my studies this week have centered around.
They are my responsibility and it lies on both sides of the field. We are connected even though that is counter to what culture wants me to put my belief system on. Society wants me to believe that I am better than the people I am watching, that I can’t possibly understand what motivates them and that I am in a position to judge. But I cling to a faith that says I am called out of this world and because of that I have a responsibility to all people.
Galatians 6 – Doing Good to All
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
When God starts nudging my soul in a direction, He never gives me just a verse to focus on. He gives me a theme. As always His timing and teaching is perfect and my heart has been wrecked lately with my responsibility in doing good, loving and restoring others. The images shown across my screen gave me the opportunity to internalize and define what that looks like in action.
Restore that person gently
The choice of words here are no accident and are contradictory to instinctual behavior when we look at the angry crowd and the crimes. I can disagree with their methods of getting their pain out in the open, but my responsibility is to gently restore. To join in the mob mentality of judgement is to deny the power of The One that died because He so loved all and is so great that He can restore all that was broken. Colossians 3:12-13 says that by being God’s chosen ones we are to have heartfelt compassion. Our hearts are supposed to grieve for those who are grieving and we are to respond with kindness, compassion, humility, gentleness and patience….and sometimes just keeping our mouths shut. Our responsibility is to restore without reservations or exclusions.
Carry each other’s burdens
They are the ones doing wrong. They are the ones who are angry. They are the ones causing so many others pain. They should be the ones to bear that burden.
But, we are asked to carry their burden. What does that mean to take the responsibility in the face of so much irresponsibility. Irresponsibility that says I will hurt who I want because I am hurting…It means that we acknowledge the proclamations of God that state we are all in the connected family together and we are in a common journey towards grace. When we are given the opportunity to do good, be a kind voice, listen…we do it unconditionally. If we don’t mimic what grace looks life, how can we give someone who is struggling under the weight of their burden hope that all that pain can be lifted and joy will have room to enter in.
Let us not become weary in doing good
You’ve already helped once, twice or even fifteen times. You’ve been hurt and you feel restoration will probably not happen in your lifetime. Well, you’ve fought the good fight, right? You can wash your hands and claim it is just at the throne of God’s feet, right?
It is not our job to decide when enough is enough. Our job is not to convict the heart; God alone does that. Our responsibility is to keep doing good regardless of what the fruits of our labor turn up. Even when we are pushed away, cursed or mocked; we don’t give up showing how great grace is and how encompassing forgiveness is. We were never given the authority to judge who deserves our mercies, kindness and forgiveness. Christ came to save all men…ALL.
Let us do good to all people
It’s easy when you hang out in society to start seeing the lines that are being drawn between who is “worthy.” There is a rhetoric that takes groups of people and puts them in categories of value in society. It’s pretty clear in the end though; we all get buried in the same size box in the same ground. Verse 3-5 of the scripture above states “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load.” We need to test our own actions and not compare ourselves to others. When did we become infallible….what would it take for you to fall….is it impossible to believe that one day something may happen in your life causing you to be raging and irrational? Not one of us, regardless of our gender, race, religion, political affiliations, etc, is better than or less blameless than another.
So by knowing this and believing it, we can easier embrace the concept of ALL people and our responsibility to love, help and restore..
Are you finding it difficult to understand what the forgiveness and love of being Christ-like looks like? Read Psalms 103 – the poem about “The Forgiving God”
Categories: christian life stuff