Good Shepherd Lutheran

The Answer Is Jesus
America is facing tumultuous times. Political unrest is increasing. The racial divide is deepening. Fear and frustration swirl frantically. When we see the images of violence, anger, frustration and unrest on our televisions it helps to remember how Jesus would have reacted: “…He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Christians are uniquely equipped to thrive in tumultuous times, not because we’re great, but because our God is.
Whether it’s through media stories, political reports, or comedy skits, Christians are often characterized as whiny, entitled children. We’re portrayed as bigoted hate-mongers, looking down on others while blinded to our own shortcomings and unable to see past that great big beam we have lodged in our own eye when trying to remove a splinter from someone else’s. We’re typecast as outdated, overrated and irrelevant.
But, when someone meets an actual Christian these days, they’re often intrigued because we don’t fit the stereotype. We hold strong convictions, which is unusual in itself in today’s world, and we try to express them with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). We don’t demonize those we disagree with. We try to treat them with charity in the same way we’d want them to treat us (Matthew 7:12). And we do our best to encounter and engage others with humility because we know that we’re imperfect and we need God’s saving grace as well.
That’s why 1 Peter 2:12 tells us to: “Live such good lives among the unbelievers that, even though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” Because when Christians engage their neighbors with courageous, humble, honest, servant-hearted love, people’s hearts are changed.
Christians know Jesus offers a better way, but we can’t just tell folks Jesus is the answer and expect peace. The issues are far too complex and wounds too deep to just add another band-aid and hope that everything will be fine. The hard work of praying, fasting, listening, learning, confessing, repenting, forgiving, and changing is required on all sides.
For those who have had to endure suffering and injustice, I encourage you to continue to build and strengthen a resilient faith. Many of our forefathers endured oppression, but they grew in faith in spite of the many roadblocks placed in their way. We need to see that resilience now. Entrenched injustice won’t be corrected overnight, but we are still a family in Christ. The Lord calls us to “hope” all things, including hoping for and seeing the best in our fellow believers, even when we hurt, confuse, or disappoint each other.
In spite of our many failings, in Jesus we are enough because “[Jesus] is our peace, who has made us one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14). Looking for unity and reconciliation? The answer is Jesus.