The Answer For Hatred

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On this MLK Day it is good to pause and reflect upon the incredible life’s work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He modeled peaceful protest and cast a vision for genuine racial equality in a nation that had been framed with the words, “all men are created equal.” Dr. King died for this cause nearly 48 years ago. Sadly, recent events demonstrate that racial strife still simmers in the hearts of some Americans with occasional eruptions of violence and lawlessness in various places around the country.

What can change the hearts of men and transform aliens and enemies into brothers and sisters? The gospel of Jesus Christ can do it. That’s what every person needs. Racism and hatred is sinful. Murder, theft, and revenge are sinful. Injustice and crime demand requital. But as men seek to “even the score,” only greater inequities are achieved. Human beings are not a perfectly Just, Omniscient, and Holy “scorekeeper” to make everything right. Only God can do that. God promises perfect Justice and Righteous Judgment in the end (Acts 17: 30-31; Romans 12:19-21; Revelation 20:11-15). Yet, for today, His Word reveals grace and forgiveness that truly makes peace and allows for healing through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The answer for hatred is a changed heart and that’s something the gospel achieves. But it means we look at ourselves and our problems from a different perspective – from God’s perspective found in the Bible.

First, God created all mankind. Human life is sacred and human beings share a fundamental dignity because we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28; 9:5-7). We all have common ancestors in Noah, as well as Adam and Eve. The apostle Paul preached concerning the true God, “He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…so that they should seek the Lord…” (Acts 17:26-27). No matter the nation, tribe, or language someone speaks, we are the brotherhood of humanity. And regardless if another person is aware of this Bible truth, because I am aware of it, I have the responsibility of treating that person accordingly.

Second, all have sinned. Clearly people do not treat each other like we are all one big human family. Hate, theft, murder, war, deception, evil speech, and evil surmising too often characterize our human interactions. All such evil proceeds from a defiled heart (Matthew 15:18-19). It is sinful and evidences the reality of sin – the Bible diagnosis for the wickedness we do against God and our fellow man. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Our ancestor Adam sinned by transgressing God’s rule and each of us since has transgressed the teachings of God. Cain murdered his brother Abel and such sins of hatred and violence have separated brothers from each other and from God throughout the ages.

Third, the gospel is for all. But God devised a plan wherein peace could be achieved between Him and His creation as well as brotherhood fashioned between sinners. According to Ephesians 2:11-18, God created one body, His church, the body of redeemed sinners in Jesus Christ. Brotherhood is restored there. Sins are forgiven in Jesus, by the sacrifice He made to pay for them. Sinners are reconciled to God and restored in forgiveness and salvation toward one another. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ teaches Christians (members of that body) how to treat others – with the grace and forgiveness that we have found in Him (Matthew 6:14-15). The gospel changes our mind and heart (Romans 1:16; 12:1-2). We see ourselves and the world around us differently. And we are taught to treat others differently, to seek their welfare and the salvation of their soul above all else (Philippians 2:1-11).

The evil of hatred is ancient. The answer to hatred is timeless: the gospel. But one virtue of MLK Day is to remind us how timely the gospel is to answer hatred, as well as all our sins and iniquities.

By Andrew Roberts

A Lifetime of Rest

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Not only is today the last day that it is socially acceptable to wear the color white, but today is Labor Day. This first Monday in September is a National holiday that provides many American citizens a break from the rigors of work and school and allows them to spend this day resting and doing whatever they please.

It’s always nice to have a break, because quite frankly, life is hard; there are bills to pay, kids to raise, jobs to attend, and classes to pass.

Aside from the physical, mundane aspects of life, Christians are engaged in spiritual warfare. The devil is constantly trying to tempt us, discourage us, and keep us off course. Juggling the routine aspects of life while trying to flee from sin can be pretty laborious.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just have a lifetime of rest?  I’m happy to tell you, we can.

I’m reminded of the words of Jesus.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” Matthew 11:28-29.

Our Heavenly Father has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to give us what no one else can give—rest from the burden of sin. In order to obtain this rest, Christ tells His disciples in the above passage to “learn from Him.”

We learn from Jesus by being absorbed in His word.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15.

Those who are absorbed in the word of God will learn truths that will comfort, encourage, strengthen, and protect them from both the physical and the spiritual burdens of life.

If we are daily meditating on, consumed in, and are practicing what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise, we will be lavished with God’s peace and love (Philippians 4:8-9). God’s peace is greater than what any National Holiday or employer can provide; this is a peace which brings forth a lifetime of rest and true happiness.

By Timothy G. Ruffin