Updated Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on October 25, 2014.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“What Conservatives and Liberals Don’t Get”
2 Corinthians 5:18-9
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
The recent protest in Ferguson, Missouri showed that racial reconciliation may still be an illusion in America. Hope for a better future for Black Americans started, not with electing the first black president, but with the Great Society programs launched under the Johnson administration in the mid 60s. Did it help? Prominent African American scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., referring to policies such as Head Start, the Elementary and Secondary Education, the Civil Rights Act, commented: “Through five heady years, the Great Society seemed to . . . usher in a bright new day. [However] in the ensuing decades, it came to look a lot more like liberalism’s supernova; a final, white-hot burst before its dark collapse.”
As to why it didn’t work, many social conservatives are likely to agree with the late Rush Limbaugh, who once declared: “I believe in the individual, in less government so as to allow that individual maximum freedom to create and achieve; that societies which are founded on restraining the government rather than the individual are optimum; that the individual is smart enough to solve his own problems and does not need to depend on big government for resolution of all his problem.” Evangelicals, some of whom have supported this conservative radio personality, should be troubled by his premises because the individual, instead of being the solution, has always been and still is the problem!
If the liberals are concerned with poverty and hate, then the conservatives should be concerned with greed. And neither education nor social reform can adequately change the inner man from these because the root problem reaches deeper into the human heart. That is, the brunt of poverty, hatred and greed are mere symptoms caused by men who, having been alienated from God because of sin, try to find meaning apart from their Creator. So, to fill their void with as much power and money they can grab, men are seduced to exploitation, deception and greed; these plague the rich as well as the poor.
Ironically, the ultimate solution to our problems lies with the one whom humanity has long rejected: God. Nonetheless, He has initiated the peace process with the offering of His Only Son Jesus Christ who bore all our hatred on his body and died to it (1 Pet 2:23-24). Realizing that we are headed to heaven on account of Jesus, instead of suffering in hell for the consequences of our hatred and greed, certainly ought to make us grateful to God. It is in this process of realizing God’s incredible love toward the undeserved that our hearts slowly change; what education and reforms can never accomplish, God, through His Son Jesus Christ, can.
1 John 4:19-21 says: “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” It is when we accept God’s love that we can love the unlovable. What the people in Ferguson need more than any material thing is this: God’s love tangibly expressed by those who have already been reconciled back to Him. At the very least, we can pray for them. So pray for them.
Prayer: Lord, give us the strength and conviction to love the unlovables, beginning with me. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 40