Pastor's Corner: Let light replace the darkness
June 4, 2020 | View PDF
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
--Martin Luther King, Jr.
Like most of you, I have been watching, reading, and praying for our riotous society over the last few days. First let me say that I am appalled, saddened and heartbroken by the events of the death of the man of color in Minneapolis, Minn. No number of tears, anxiety and yes, even rioting can turn back the clock or right that hideous wrong nor bring justice.
Perhaps like many of you I have read, heard and been “social-mediaized” with many thoughts as to ‘whys’ of the rioting, and even read of a few solutions to rectify the situation. I even heard one man say he “hated the cops and was protesting in hopes of America becoming socialistic.” I thought, wait a minute, doesn’t that mean that the government ultimately controls everything and uses a “police state” to see its fulfillment? I know that is a broad “brush stroke,” however ultimately that is what happens; so, protesting to get more of what you are supposedly protesting against, huh?
Now, I understand our young people are being taught that yes, other socialistic governments failed, but the USA brand of socialism will be different. Have those minds even taken a good look at Washington, D.C., lately; and out of that they believe will come a different type of socialism. Take a closer look. But that is a different subject for a different day.
I was asked by a truly seeking heart what I thought a solution might be. I answered, and after several days of thought I am more thoroughly convinced of my answer, so here goes.
Over 3,000 years ago a man named Jeremiah wrote some very thought-provoking words. Now, he was not a philosopher, national government leader or such. He was a prophet of Israel and was better known as the “Weeping Prophet,” a man with a very tender and caring heart. Those words were these, ”The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV)
The heart of man is the battleground of this and every battle we fight. Of what Jeremiah spoke is this, that all of us -- red, yellow, black and white -- left to ourselves are very selfish and self-serving, demanding our way or the highway. Oh, it can be subtle and well-hidden, covered with the brush and debris of our past experiences. And yes, it can be scrubbed, cleaned and perfumed with a veneer of smiles, suppressed feelings, and an attitude of acquiescence all also learned from past experiences. But at the core beats a heart demanding its own way.
It is only as Dr. King said in our thought today; that victory comes when in the heart of man light dispels darkness and love replaces hate that true justice, liberty, trust, and peace prevail. The Apostle John wrote many years after Jeremiah, “Whoever says he is in the light (love) and hates (to look down with disdain) his brother is still in darkness.”[END ITAL] (I John 2:9 ESV)
The love that is spoken of here is not the gushy, gooey love of Hollywood that is fickle, faint and changing, but is the sacrificial love of the Cross of Calvary. It is a love that thinks of others first and self a very distant second. It is a love that can only be supernaturally injected into a subservient recipient through faith. And one that can only be “fleshed out” by a continual submission to its parameters in the inner depths of the Spirit of man led by the Spirit of God.
A final few thought, please. Before you “blow” this off as a kindergarten answer to a PhD question, I challenge you to think deeply for a moment about its truths. The answer to the huge question we face today and the myriad of other questions facing our lives, our government and our churches does not lie in more rules, regulations and do’s and don’ts, but a radical infusion of love for our God, our country and most importantly, our fellow man.
So, I hope you have begun to see that this is really a PhD answer to a kindergarten question. Think about it and as always, thanks for reading.
Jim Neal is pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Shafter.