Within the first few lines of anything we read or hear, we sense the political bent of the presenter. Stories are packaged for provoking rage. Praise for this, poison on that; shielding one leader, slaying another; advocating one idea, attacking others.
Even churches are choosing political sides, taking political aim and forming political lines. We can’t hear a sermon without knowing the speaker’s political alignment.
News stories are headlined and packaged like bombs, designed for outrage. Anger is easy to find regardless of what issue is discussed and which side of that issue you may be on.
My brother recently said, “Our cultural atmosphere is like a drought in the mountains. A tossed cigarette can make it all explode.”
Emerging from pandemic and isolation, we find ourselves in the middle of civil unrest and chaos. Watching the relentless knee of authority on the neck of the powerless struck a nerve in us. Watching the frenzied calamity of riots strikes other nerves.
Despair leads people to break their own things. Jacob ripped his own clothes when told his son was missing and presumed dead (Genesis 37:34). Records of many good people ripping their own clothes out of despair, followed. It’s easier to break things than to fix them; easier to get angry than to be part of the solution.
Joel 2:13 tells a better way, “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”
Think About it
All those folks who have been restricted to home and absorbing little but constant news, are coming back to church. Some are angry, some hurt, some broke financially and others broken emotionally.
Neighbors who never liked your church anyway will like it less when the cars and crowds return.
There has been a lot of instructions posted for best practices of returning to service. One thing missing however, is the mindset model of the protection team.
Be aware of the emotional hit on the people coming in, but do not represent the troubles that ushered in their brokenness.
Be aware of, but don’t fuel the talk, of how bad things are in their eyes. It won’t help you and it won’t help them. Stay aware of the conversation flows and be ready to take them a better way; slow to anger, no calamity.