Lifelines June 7, 2020

All of the ugliness that this world has to offer has been on display in the last couple of weeks.  Millions of good people have watched in disbelief as innocent people suffered at the hands of the ungodly.  It has invaded every segment of society.  Pick a group and they have had both victimizers and victims.  It is a sad time.

Evil does not have a color scheme, nor does it discriminate by occupation.  It is in every neighborhood and job place.  It is not confined to the young or old, rich or poor, black or white.  It simply is and has been since Adam and Eve.  Murder was only a generation away.  Brother killed brother and the war between good and evil has raged ever since.  This is not new.  It is as old as mankind.

Not respecting but rejecting God sets off a chain reaction with inevitable consequences.  Death is the inescapable end.  The wages of sin are consistent.  Removing an almighty and impartial Judge from our thinking leads down a destructive road along which people leave much heartache and sorrow (Romans 3:9-18).  Blessed with wisdom from above, Solomon observed that all of life revolves around a proper attitude toward the Lord and His commands (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).  These have eternal implications and immediate impact.

The warning of Peter (1 Peter 5:8) takes on deeper meaning as we watch the devil stalk through our country turning one human against another.  It is easy to get swept up in the moment and lose our focus.  Christians are children of the living God and have been lifted out of the domain of darkness and put into the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13-14).  Forgiveness is there, both to be received and given.  We rejoice at the former and grimace at the latter. 

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34),” the words of a perfectly innocent man.  He had been slapped and spit upon.  His back had been shredded by a vicious beating.  An ugly crown of thorns had been jammed onto His head.  Nails were driven through His hands and feet.  He hung on a cross and asked for the forgiveness of His torturers.  They had acted in ignorance.  It is a brutally ugly picture of sin and an astonishingly accurate blood-stained portrait of the love of God.

The world can be an awfully discouraging place.  The evil one wanders around looking for his next victim.  Volunteers seem plentiful, and the darkness intensifies.  It transitions from external to internal (Matthew 6:23) and Satan claims another weapon in his arsenal.  The church appears to be outmanned and outgunned. “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”  Those, too, are the words of the innocent One.  We decide: Follow the losers to eternal defeat or follow the winner and share victory in Jesus.