For my devotional thought last evening I talked about the family—the building block of society.
Here’s what I was impressed to share:
Sometimes I think we need to be reminded that a lot of the problems in society today stem from a breakdown of this basic unit—the family. As simple as it may sound, without the inculcation and reinforcement of positive values that reflect honesty, respect for others, integrity and benevolence, to name a few, children coming into the world are often left to become ‘anyone.’ A lack of resources coupled with an environment deprived of care, attention and interest is a recipe for the development of a child whose instincts become survival often compounded with the challenge of avoiding undesirable alternatives.
Presently, the discussion of the need for reforms to reduce injustice is potentially endless. We need reforms in the law enforcement system, policing, the judicial system, we need better checks and balances, better education and training at all levels, more accountability, and quite possibly less qualified immunity. We need a host of things including what I heard this week as the ‘8 that can’t wait’— referring to reforms needed in ‘use of force’ policies. But let’s be honest, there is a fundamental and underlying condition in this world among us that reflects indifference and apathy, coupled with a callousness and crassness of human behavior. The problems of this world go far deeper than bad policies and unjust systems. This is not to say that issues should not be addressed, but until we examine our humanness and in our daily lives seek to allow true love from above to permeate our beings, we’ll constantly come up short.
Injustice is no recent event. Injustice has been around since the days of Adam. In the very first home we had a situation where one man killed his brother….And unfair killings have not stopped since. The needless killing of George Floyd and countless others is a reminder that we live in a depraved world. We know something is really wrong with a person and a system that blatantly disregards human life while attempting to protect it. And those who are not moved with compassion or incensed by injustice, need just as much help as the inflictors.
If we really want to make a difference in society I suggest we look at ourselves first. Then, our closest circle of influence including our families and good friends. Let us seek to build and nurture the next generation—there is much work to be done.
So I want to ask the question, ‘who’s doing the building in your house?’ Are we up to the challenge of building ourselves and those around us? How can we encourage each other to be more considerate, to look out for one another and demonstrate true care and concern for other’s feelings?
To answer the question, I want to draw your attention to a few passages of scripture:
The first one is taken from the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 11:10. Reading from the NLT, it says,
“Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.”
Ultimately we know that things will never be perfect here on earth. Our ultimate goal must be to live in God’s kingdom and to set an example for others to follow suit.
Secondly, Psalm 127:1-2 says,
“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” NLT
With all our doing, we must let God take charge. Submission and humility are a must.
Thirdly, Ephesians 6:12:
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” NLT
While we interact with others and may see each other’s short comings, keep in mind the driver behind all of this. Having this perspective and understanding can allow us to see each person as a soul to win. As we seek forgiveness for our own faults we can forgive others.
Forgiveness is not an enemy of justice. It’s a by-product. You may say how? I asked the same question. Let’s go to the next passage found in Micah 6:8.
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” KJV
When we do justly, what do we do? Don’t we forgive? We don’t have much choice if we accept that we have been forgiven. In order to be fair to you I first have to forgive you, why? Simply because it wasn’t fair when I was. Do we need another reason to forgive other than the fact that we have been? I always hate when I see a driver get let in to a lane and then when another driver comes up to them they refuse to let the person in. Shame.
At the same time, forgiveness doesn’t negate that actions have consequences.
Let’s look at 2 Samuel 12: 13-14
“Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the word of the Lord by doing this, your child will die.””
Harsh word it seems, but the wages of sin is death. Thank God, Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins on the cross.
Last but not least, Matt 19:26
“Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.’”
This week was the first week off of school for Jalen and Joshua. Mel has been working from home and helping them with things to do. I came home on Wednesday and they had made crafts including building some beautiful miniature planes made with popsicle sticks, clothes pins and beads. Mel built one and the boys it seems followed her example.
Building others often means setting an example. Nothing is impossible with God and when we let Him lead he reveals himself—the perfect example through Christ. So again, I ask, who’s doing the building in your home? I challenge us to let God in, let Him be the architect, the engineer, and the contractor for our lives. Then let’s watch Him transform us and those around us such that we make our corner a better place in which to live.
So in summary, this is not an either-or-situation. There is a need to have things addressed on both fronts:
A. we need reforms, improvements in law enforcement, better training, greater accountability and equity in the system.
B. we need folk to look at themselves and ask the question, how can I do better? How can the next generation be better? What can be done to positively influence those in my circle?
The fight against injustice is as much a heart problem as it is an institutional problem. Regardless of what is going on around me I should never get to the point where I could feel justified in taking another person’s life because of the color of their skin. I should never become so callous that I become oblivious to oppression and injustice.
The family unit with God in the center has a significant role to play in molding and shaping young minds to assist in the development of character. In our homes we have a responsibility to foster an environment that demonstrates love. Through caring and sharing, we can inspire each other to be more humane. Ultimately, our goal should be to become disciples and to love others as Christ has loved us!
Blessings to all!