Responsibility for All

The past few weeks for our world have been incredibly distressing. There have been mass killings, anger, and hatred from all over. In America we are in the midst of a presidential race, one in which both sides are fueled by hatred of the other, with us as citizens being caught in their crossfire. We’ve seen our own people turn on each other because of choices by sinful men. We see the media like CNN and Fox News have a constant stream of these events causing myself and others to fear, while they also push bias onto us. Our world is chaotic, it is a lost place, and it needs Jesus. I wish we lived in a world that was peaceful and we never had to struggle, but the truth is, we will never obtain that on our own. This all steams from the first sin, when Adam and Eve chose to live independently from God. That choice created a disconnect, one that separated us from God. In that, the world was introduced to sin, so God chose to send his son much later into the world. Jesus was fully man and fully God, and in so he died for us and rose again. Because of that act, we can enter back into a relationship with Christ. I hope you have made that choice, and if you have, it has left you with a responsibility. You see, while Jesus was on earth, he taught everyone he could about the word and how to act. His teachings on the way we should be, is the responsibility, and it is one we all must follow if we want to see change.

In Matthew 22, we see the religious leaders of the time try to test Jesus, they were essentially trying to put him in a trap. They asked Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment of all?” This was designed to make Jesus look foolish and make his ministry crumble. I can only imagine Jesus pausing, not because he didn’t know, but because he was disheartened by the minds of the Pharisees for losing sight of what really matters. Jesus replied and said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” That brings tears to my eyes when I truly think about the weight of those words. Our responsibility as a believer is two things, love God with everything, and love people as if they were you. The fate of the world rests on these two principles. We are living in a world where we judge people by their skin color or the badge they wear. These judgements and others like them are driven by hatred, a hatred that comes from sin. We see mass shootings and jump to the regulations without addressing the people behind the weapon. We become entitled to the things of this world when Christ told us to store our treasures in heaven because the things of this earth will fail. We have forgotten love, we have lost the power of the family, and we have begun to ignore our responsibility as believers. Enough. I think our generation can rise up, I believe that when we love God and love people, we can make a change. Today I want to speak about this responsibility, not from a political worldview or some hidden agenda, I simply want to remind us of what Jesus told us as believers to do. Love God with all our heart, and love others like ourselves.

Our hope needs to be in Jesus, not a political party.

Now if you are wondering what I mean by that, I’m not saying don’t pay attention to the elections and the candidates, I’m simply stating that a sinful person cannot solve all our problems. While it may make it start, real change cannot come from a political party, it comes from a collective stride towards a love of God and a love of people. To be clear as well, I think as a citizen of whatever country you may be from, if you have an election system, you need to vote. You need to look at the candidates and make a choice, and whatever the outcome may be, we must respect that. Jesus said earlier in Matthew 22, “Give to Caesar what is his,” this means that we need to respect those in authority unless it causes us to sin against God. Our hope and devotion should be towards Christ. So instead of getting angry or posting memes on Facebook of your distaste in the president/candidates, pause and remember that Jesus when he was on the cross said, “Forgive them father for they know not what they do.” This was for everyone, even the people we do not like. Hope is found in Jesus, not a political party.

Stand up for your brothers and sisters.  

Jesus makes it pretty clear when he said love others like yourselves. This means everyone. We need to join together to defeat hate of others simply because of their uniform or color of their skin. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s standard, and all of us have walked different roads, it is not my job to judge others. My job is to love others and stand against injustice. If an officer makes a choice based on hate, he should stand trial for those crimes, but that decision of one should not fuel a hatred for men and women that choose to put their lives at risk to keep us safe. If someone decides to take a life of an officer, they should stand trial for their crimes, but that decision of one should not fuel hatred for men and women who are human beings. See how those are the same things, I say this because each and every person has been uniquely made in the image of God. Stand against injustice, not a people group. Instead of protesting out of anger, pray for others out of love. We are children of God, and we need to stand up for them.

It starts with the family.

An issue not many people are looking at is the family. The family has broken down and we are creating a next generation of children and students who have little to no guidance in their lives. This is heartbreaking to see, because our children are the future, they will be the ones to rise up and make a real change, but without guidance they will enter the world blind and a broken understanding of Christ and how to treat others. I think it’s time to rise up. We need to say enough, and raise our children up with a knowledge of Christ and a knowledge of how to love others. I especially want to address the men, you need to make a stand and lead your family the way Christ calls you to. I have been blessed to have a father who leads the way Christ calls him to. I have been able to see the pastors in my church be leaders as well as the men in my life who I get to lead with, people like Rick and Jeremy that take a week off work to be a leader at a camp and invest in the children. People like my girlfriends father, Dan, who I get to see the effect of his fathering through his daughter. These are the men I want to lead like one day, and it’s time for you to lead your family like this as well. The power of the family can make all the difference.

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Jesus told the Pharisees exactly what the bible can be summed up by, love God with everything and love others like yourself. Imagine what would happen if we all chose to live this why, so many problems could be solved. My challenge to you is to go out and serve others. Put into practice what Jesus said, don’t just simply forget about it, act on it. We all come from different backgrounds, and if you haven’t sat down with someone different from you to hear their story, maybe you should try to. Each of us has been made in the image of God. If you are a police officer or in the military, I want to thank you. You are someone who is not treated with respect and you have to make tough calls, thank you for keeping me safe. If you are someone living in America and has been judged by the color of your skin, I want you to know that is wrong. You have been made by God and he loves you more than anything, because he says you are so worth loving. To all of us, we need to focus our eyes on the real person that can save us, Jesus. We need to love him and treat others like we would want to be treated. So do not hate on someone for any reason, but show love and respect.

We are the body of Christ, and this is our responsibility.

-Joshua Thomas

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