Dear brothers and sisters, we are grieving. As you and I grieve, we are all in God’s Word, reading, lamenting, calling out to God for His healing of our nation. We ache for our friends and brothers and sisters as light is shined onto their lives – the fears, the necessary “talks”, the hurtful words, the unjust treatment. We want to come alongside. We want to help. We feel powerless…. and we are. Only God can heal a nation from the disease and violence and ugliness we are experiencing.
I write to you, my family in Christ, for us to position ourselves in such a way that we are salt and light in our community. We can only be that when we are not fooling, when we are real and authentically who God needs us to be, especially in this time and in all times. I’ve been reading II Chronicles 7:14 repeatedly. Here is what God says as He responds to Solomon’s request on behalf of the Israelites:
If I shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or if I command locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence and plague among My people, and My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer offered in this place.
I know that God is talking about Israel in this passage. The occasion is the dedication of the completed temple. It was a great time of celebration. God’s glory and brilliance had filled the Lord’s house. So this is a time before Jesus. But we also are God’s people and, oh, how we hunger for God’s glory and brilliance to fill CHBC today. We want to be acceptable to Him. We need His presence and His blessing. We want His holiness….and so does He.
We are covered by the blood of Jesus and accepted into God’s presence because Jesus made that possible. Are there things that we can do that can disrupt our fellowship with God? Hear these words from I John 1:9:
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness [of sin], we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we [really] walk in the Light [that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God], as He Himself is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another [He with us, and we with Him], and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin [by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].
Prejudice is a sin we need to confess so that God can hear us and respond. We can’t leave it there, as egregious as that particular sin is. What about all the others that we have accustomed ourselves to living with?
- Are we loving one another well?
- Do we build up, encourage, pray for one another?
- Do we settle differences between us in a Biblical manner?
- Have we adopted world views from the culture rather than from God’s Word?
- Do we show partiality?
- Are we walking with our suffering brothers and sisters, listening to them, and praying on their behalf for God to genuinely heal our land and change their condition?
Brothers and sisters, may we all examine ourselves and confess all that God shows us as we come before Him through the words of I John 1:9. May we walk together in the light of God’s glory and holiness and bring Him joy as we love one another in unity. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” – Psalms 133:1
When we do this, when we have confessed all sin, then we are in a position for God to hear us, and forgive us, and to heal our land. This is essential. We have no hope without it.