By Jason Soroski, Crosswalk.com
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” – 1 Peter 3:9
A few years ago, I lived in Longmont, Colorado and became well acquainted with the various churches and non-profits actively working in the city. Named for Longs Peak, a massive mountain which dominates the mountain skyline, Longmont is a quaint town nestled at the foot of the Rockies. It is characterized by local shops, a revitalized and thriving historic main street, and non-profits working to do good in the community.
One of those organizations is Life Choices, an organization offering free counseling, financial resources, and limited medical services such as ultrasounds to women working through unplanned pregnancy and post-abortion stress.
I was saddened to see that Life Choices was the target of vandalism, including arson, in the aftermath of the recent Supreme Court ruling. The smoldering building, covered in graffiti, is somewhat representative of where we seem to be at as a culture right now, as anger and misunderstanding seem to dominate our national discourse. This small community, like many others, now finds itself in the middle of heated controversy and violence.
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident, as multiple churches and pregnancy help centers are becoming targets of what is clearly an orchestrated effort to destroy these buildings.
As our society grows ever angrier, this type of thing is becoming more and more common. Destruction is rapidly becoming a substitute for dialogue, and we are seeing each other not as neighbors, but as members of one ‘team’ or the other. This might be a good way to get votes, but it is no way for us to live and build community together.
Ever since abortion was made legal nationwide in 1973, it has become the foremost ‘litmus-test' issue for politicians and justices, with Democrats becoming a primarily pro-choice party and Republicans primarily pro-life. As the nation walks through the aftermath of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (19-1392) ruling, we can expect emotions to be high, property to be damaged, and relationships to be severed. As believers in Christ, how are we to respond?
Resist the Urge to ‘Fight Back’
“’Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword’”. - Matthew 26:52
When we experience injustice in our communities, it will surely make us angry. Yet the night Jesus was arrested without having broken any laws, Peter and the apostles were watching an even greater injustice unfold. Jesus was a healer and a teacher. He had done no wrong to anyone and had done nothing deserving of arrest, and certainly not crucifixion. So as Peter responds in a defensive anger by swinging swords at people, we can relate.
Yet Jesus scolds him for doing so. His kingdom is not to be defended with swords, both with faith and trust. As we spend time on social media, and in personal conversations, let your conversation come from a place of faith and trust, not a place of anger and insult. Jesus reminds Peter that there are armies of angels at His disposal (Matthew 26:53) and He could quite easily put an end to this at any moment.
As things unfold over the next days, weeks, and months, we will continue to see not only heated rhetoric but physical damage. Yet we are not to ‘fight fire with fire’ in the literal or physical sense.
Take Up the Battle in Prayer
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” - 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
As we fight this cultural battle, we will find victory through prayer. We must remember that nothing on this earth is permanent. Roe v. Wade was ‘settled law’ for decades, but so was slavery and for 13 years, so was prohibition. Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg, known for her liberal leanings, had concerns with the Roe v. Wade ruling, believing that it was based on the wrong laws in the first place, and foresaw that it was not going to stand as written.
Human governments are going to ebb and flow, and often what is legal may not always be good, and vice versa. While we seek good, honest government, and aim to hold government accountable to the people, we are wrong to put our faith in government. Laws that we call ‘settled’ can be overturned, and politics are fickle.
This is why we must take our battles up in prayer, and continually entreat God to actively work in our own lives and in the lives of those who lead us. Ask that he would mold hearts and heal souls. Stand firm against the schemes of darkness and demolish arguments through faith, not more arguing.
As we strive to keep our thoughts “captive to Christ” we are able to think reasonably and live as examples of Christ in our world.
Be Quick to Listen
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” - James 1:19
In heated debates, we are generally quick to speak and slow to listen, yet Scripture teaches the opposite. As we speak truth (and we should) we are to also be quick to listen. Sometimes we may completely disagree with what is being said, but we listen, asking God to give us His words as we respond, sharing His truth and not just our own ideas of what truth should be.
Certainly, those who are going about in the middle of the night torching buildings are not giving anyone much of an opportunity to listen. They are breaking the law, and the only argument they are making is that they are guilty of arson. Yet these extremes do not represent everyone on that side of the argument, and we should work to understand this as we speak what is true.
For many years, many Christians have prayed for revival. Many have prayed for an end to Roe v. Wade. Now that Roe v. Wade has been overruled, I am not sure that those believers are prepared for the attack to come. It is up to us to fight our battles in prayer, trust in God and not government, and respond to others out of the grace of God and not the anger of the moment (like we learn from Peter).
We are to allow the Spirit to renew our minds (Romans 12:2) and understand that Satan is constantly working to lessen our influence, which comes not through might or legislation but from the power of God.
Abortion is a difficult topic, and there will be painful days ahead as buildings burn and pundits argue. But as for believers, we are to be full of grace and truth in how we address and respond to it.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Elijah Nouvelage/Stringer
Jason Soroski is a homeschool dad and member of the worship team at matthias lot church in St. Charles, MO. He spends his free time hanging out with his family, exploring new places, and writing about the experiences. Connect on Facebook or at JasonSoroski.net.