Reaping what we sow
Of all the emotions rising up in me since the Connecticut shootings, the most persistent one is anger. I feel great sadness for the families, gratitude that my children are safe, and also a certain measure of fear for theirs and my grandchildren’s future as well as the future of our country. But the one that refuses to be assuaged is anger. I’m not angry at God, nor at any individual or group of individuals. I’m angry with the faceless, nebulous entity commonly referred to as society.
We reap what we sow, and we have been sowing evil and godlessness. In the entertainment media, the courtrooms, the halls of higher learning and the elementary school classrooms we are giving a consistent message that God, the source of goodness and true Goodness himself, is irrelevant or non-existent. We have ignored or mocked him in our politics and our demands of self-actualization irrespective of his laws. And in our private lives we have rejected his way in favor of our own. A garden untended will soon be overrun by weeds.
I believe anger is a proper response for this time, and one which should motivate God’s people to rise up and fight, in his power, for righteousness and truth. God is slow to anger, but he has a tipping point, and so should we. We have to stop letting the “enlightened” ones shut us down or scare us into submission with charges of religious bigotry or terrorist-like fundamentalism.
The Gospels record a Jesus who tenderly took children into his arms and gently spoke forgiveness to wayward sinners. But they also record a Man who fashioned a whip and used it to drive out money-changers and hurled repeated “woes” at the religious hypocrites of his day, calling them a “brood of vipers.” We must very carefully guard against self-righteousness, but if we are God’s hands, feet, and mouthpieces…certainly this is a time for his anger.
This is also a time for strong warnings in his Name. The fourth chapter of the book of Amos in the Old Testament records God recounting to the Israelites the troubles he brought on them because of their sin, and how time and again they refused to respond in repentance and faith. I believe he is speaking this to us today as well. But if we are unfamiliar with God’s “modus operandi” because we are unfamiliar with God and his Word, we will misinterpret the signs of the times. Instead of considering that the sovereign Lord of the universe is actively responding to the behavior of his creatures, we rail against him if we consider him at all.
There is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate.” This is most certainly a time to speak, in love but with hatred for sin and evil. And now, more than ever, is the time to heed God’s concluding warning in Amos 4: “Prepare to meet your God.”