Unity: When the Flag Is Not Enough
So, Charlottesville, Virginia seems to be completely out of control. If you’ve watched the news today, it’s plain to see hatred on full display. It’s not just a nod to depraved behavior, firmly rooted in prejudice, that some among us seem to embrace, but it’s the systemic sin nature of man, fueled by Satan, a very persuasive agitator, ramping up in utter defiance of everything that God stands for. Racism, bigotry, violence, and hatred stem from something far greater than skin color, and it’s a systemic problem that legislation, police action, and community action groups can never fix.
Many of these individuals, plenty on both sides of the divide, would verbally espouse a love for God; however, I have my doubts. My last reading of Scripture didn’t include instruction to assume a personal mindset of hatred towards others. In fact, if you look closely, Scripture says this…
“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” – 1 John 4:20-21 (ESV)
Based on that verse alone, it would be safe to assume that a great number of those protesting in hatred today do not love God, and, therein, we find the real problem. We don’t hate one another because of skin color, nationality, religious beliefs, or political differences; we hate one another because our love for God is either not present, or it’s greatly diminished.
There will always arise valid reasons for dispute, specifically in the politically charged climate of our era where politicians seem to encourage national divide based on social and economic issues. We will all never fully agree on any issue, and, you know what? That O.K. It’s when we elevate our disagreements to an irrational level, fueled by raw emotion, that things become ugly. It’s easy, at that elevated point of emotion, to view others with contrasting opinions as the enemy. We mentally strip them of their self-worth and relevance, simply because our views don’t line up.
We should never strip someone of the honor they possess as a creation of God. If Christ didn’t develop hatred for the Roman soldiers who nailed His already beaten and abused body to a cross, who are we to withhold love and honor from someone with whom we simply disagree?
Romans 12:10 leaves us some very relevant instruction in how to get along. It simply says this, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
There’s no honor in what we see displayed today on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, and there’s certainly a profound lack of love. It’s Godlessness running rampant in a nation that calls itself “Christian.” I pray for our nation, but I don’t pray for equal rights for all men and women of all colors or for equal pay for women and men. I don’t pray that everyone has healthcare coverage, nor do I pray that any certain political party retains the majority in Congress. My prayer for our nation is that we earnestly return to a profound love for Almighty God. It is only there where we will find peace and unity. We cannot be unified under our allegiance to a flag, obviously. However, we can be unified under our personal and corporate allegiance to God.
There is but one hope for our nation, and that is a reverence and pursuit of God. It is in Him alone where there is healing for a country so divided. All other avenues are “schemes of man” that are doomed to fail.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
– 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
Pray for our nation to seek the face of God.
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Keith Beatty is a Worship, Missions and Media Pastor living in North Alabama. He's excited and very humbled to be a follower of Jesus Christ!