Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Responding to the Riots

The whole nation and beyond were shocked at the recent riots in London and in other locations throughout the UK. We weep with those who have lost loved ones, their homes or livelihoods.
The response to these events has been interesting. Many of the people of these areas broke out in understandable rage, others resorted to the blame game and the government began its chant of we can fix it. Amidst all the voices that were heard responding to the events - not one voice rose up to communicate what God says about such matters. I guess that is part and parcel of the problem - that so very few in our land have even the slightest notion what the living God says about anything.
So here are a few Biblical directions to guide our thinking:
1. The Bible is true. We didn't need the sinful activities of opportunist and scheming looters to tell us that but their actions confirm what God has said. II Timothy 3 v1ff But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God....
The looters love for self was apparent in every shop front smashed and every item stolen - I love me and I will get for me whatever I like and whatever it might mean for anyone else. A young woman defiantly said - we want to show that we can do what we want - I think that falls in the arrogant category. As we watched the young oversees student be picked up and then robbed - one word echoed in our minds - heartless.
So these sad events don't loosen our faith - they confirm it.
I can't help wondering if such lawlessness is not also a measure of the handing over of God of our nation. A nation that wants to live without God may be merciful shown - this is what it would be like to live without God.
2. What's the sin under the sin. It is obvious that stealing, arson, murder is wrong - the Bible says so. But what is fueling such mayhem. Yes no doubt the economic and social climate does have a bearing on such events. But that is not the root reason that so many would stoop to such atrocities. The root sin is connect to the first commandment - no other gods before Me. The god of sinful man is self - I must have, this will make me happy, if I had that item I would be acceptable. The "must have" pangs of our society is a God shaped thing. And when it is not filled with God sinful man will do anything to fill that aching gap. If only men and women could see - we weren't made for things - iphones, designer labels - but for the living God.
When we get to the sin under the sin - it puts us all on a similar footing with the looters. We are sinners needing the emptiness of our lives filled.
3. Pray for the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible calls us to pray for those in government. How they need our prayers. Pray that they would be humble to see that they can't fix it. Pray that someone will bring them the wisdom of the Word of God and the leaders of our nation would lead the nation in repentance.
And we shouldn't be despondent about the angry mobs. Prior to the revival of the 1700s the nation was in a similar low with regard to crime, violence and morality. Maybe the day is not far off when the transforming power of God will come again to our land.
The looters are not scum, feral, or morons - but human beings, created in the image of God, they have worth and value. We should weep that God is not glorified as He should be and that so many are heading for a lost eternity and cry to God to save many.
And in case any are feeling a little smug thinking - I am better than they are, I am no looter? Really? So you have never grabbed the good name of someone else in a morsel of gossip? So you have never burnt down someone's character by not standing up for them in a conversation when you knew what others was saying was wrong?

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