If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
I’m sitting on the shore of Lake Michigan this morning. All is calm. But water levels are higher than they’ve been in years. The beach is being swallowed whole in certain stretches. Yesterday, the Milwaukee Journal reported many houses at risk of falling into the lake due to erosion.
Even quiet and calm can eat away at souls and societies when evil rises.
Last year, there were 145 homicides in Milwaukee. The paper reported that we’re perplexed. We don’t know why murder is on the rise. The guess? “Deep systemic problems” in this exact order: “poverty, unemployment, segregation, education, easy access to guns, lack of personal responsibility, breakdown of family.”
Seems flipped to me. And incomplete. Can you believe the paper omitted following Christ as we find him in the Bible? Didn’t even mention the possibility that believing and following Christ might be the remedy in its entirety.
So let’s give it a try. Let’s start with the “breakdown of family” (last in the article’s list). Consider this . . .
Wouldn’t it seem rational that if families, as the Bible defines families (one woman and one man married for life in a loving relationship—as the bible defines loving—and then living together and then having sex and then making babies)—wouldn’t that be taking personal responsibility (next to last on the list)?
And if one truly took personal responsibility by loving our neighbor as ourself, wouldn’t that solve all our “deep systemic problems” (of course, presuming that first on the list is loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength)? Mark 12:29-31
Where is God in our lives, these days? And where is his word in our lives, these days?
It’s so easy to believe in God, these days. And it’s so easy to know nothing of the Bible. Then again, it’s easy to know much of the Bible and not apply it to life. It’s easier to point the finger. Some kill with guns but, as Jesus says, the murder methods are many, created and stored in the heart.
So while we’re wringing our hands and scratching our heads perplexed, the solution is simple. It’s the application that’s difficult. Actually, the application is impossible without a regeneration of spirit by the Holy Spirit. But here’s the holy order—the only way to fix us:
First, we have to be humbled and realize we humans can’t fix a thing on our own.
Second, we have to let God be God in our lives, which means we have to return to the Bible as our definition of absolute truth and absolute love.
No if’s and’s or but’s.
Third, we need to think, speak and act according to his word—the Bible—and not our sliced-and-diced human interpretation and segregation of truth and love which ends up supporting all our rationalizations.
For heaven’s sake! We’re ALL dying here, letting evil murder our souls!
When will we corporately say, “Enough!”
When we each, individually, say “Enough!”
When we say, every day . . .
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your Name. Let you kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, beginning with me. Give me all I need to help me love you more than all—with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. And help me love my neighbor as myself. Forgive me when I sin against you and another. Help me know what I’ve done, and what I haven’t done, to help others. Help me turn from temptation. Help me learn and obey all your commands, not just the ones I like or think are right. For Yours alone is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Are we ready to admit we’ve built our lives, even one room, on shifting sand? Are we ready to realize that even one life, one part of a life, has a ripple effect, even when the sin of our souls is hidden from view? We want solutions to our problems in this world? They will come when we start with our own heart and soul.
Want to make a difference in the “deep systemic problems” in Milwaukee? Consider giving a gift of time or money to New Beginnings Are Possible, a Milwaukee Christian youth ministry our family works with to provide safe shelter, hot meals, tutoring, Bible study, godly relationship modeling and training, goal-setting, and exposure to healthy activities after school and all day during the summer. Our family hosts a summer Nature Camp on our horse farm, exposing at-risk youth to God’s creation where they learn the gospel in parables based on what they see, hear, taste, smell, and touch.