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If you are a follower of Jesus, I want to encourage you not to be afraid in these uncertain times. It has helped me to be courageous in the face of fear by memorizing Proverbs 3:25-32. “Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught. Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,’ when you have it with you. Do not devise evil against your neighbor, for he dwells by you for safety's sake. Do not strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm. Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways; for the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD, but His secret counsel is with the upright.”
If you are a member of 4Tucson it may be largely because you want to be part of a solution to right the wrongs we see in our city. Knowing your heart, I want to caution you to be on guard. It seems that influential people are using shame and guilt as tools to manipulate people’s responses to the current events. Manipulating people is never a good thing. Often manipulation has roots in a hidden agenda that may not be obvious at first. As followers of Jesus, the only true standard for making sense of what is happening around us and for instructing how we are to respond to the injustices we see is found in the Bible.
Please allow me the opportunity to apply Romans 3:9-12 to our current context. “What shall we conclude then? As Christians, do we have any advantage over non-Christians? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that we are all under the power of sin. As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
As Christians, we must not compromise biblical truth in an effort to affect positive change. We are called to a higher standard. As we work with people in our community, these are a few of the biblical truths we must negotiate away: 1) the events of the past few weeks are symptomatic of deeper spiritual issues that only through the power of God do we have any hope to heal, 2) we are all flawed human beings, no person is better than another, 3) because we are flawed, we need to take personal responsibility for what we say and do no matter how well-intentioned we may believe we are, 4) we must ask forgiveness when it comes to our attention that we have personally hurt someone, 5) we must accept our calling as ministers of reconciliation, reconciling people to God and to each other.
Difficult times seem to bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, that these recent events bring out the best in you. I encourage you to join me in this struggle for a better world by praying for our nation and our city. I urge you to act without fear as the Holy Spirit directs you. Do not be afraid. Be bold and courageous for we serve a mighty God.