If the Heart Does Not Change

Cup of Coffee, Newpaper and GlassesToday is my day off, which means I am beginning it by casually reading the paper and drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee. The more I read of current affairs, the more discouraged I get. Is it just me or is the world fraying at the seams? Here are just a few examples from this morning’s paper:

-Eleven years, hundreds of billions of dollars, and many American lives have been given to fix the problems in Iraq, yet terrorism and chaos seems as destructive as ever there and in the Middle East.

-Drone strikes on terrorist camps in Pakistan have that country’s leaders up in arms.

-Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release has exposed a great divide in our country’s military and foreign policy.

-The rancor over homosexuality and gay marriage is found on several pages, from the local, state and national stage. Even the U.S. Catholic Bishops are wrestling with its implications. (Today June 14th, in fact, The Idaho Statesman is highlighting the 1955 story of older gay men sexually assaulting teenage boys [under 16] in Boise 59 years ago.)

-Illegal immigration is another battlefield exposed in the Virginia elections.

-India is fighting its increasing problem of gang rapes.

-Facebook is increasing its surveillance of our private lives.

-A Boise auto dealer is illegally harassing people with overdue payments.

-News of the unconstitutional treatment of information and the illegal behavior of the IRS and the NSA.

And, a happy 4th of July to you, too!

What should a Christian do? My temptation is just to disconnect, wash my hands, and say to the world, “Knock yourselves out… I’m going golfing.”

Three Conclusions:

1) Most of us would agree that peace and unity are difficult to come by. But, what is perhaps the most disturbing in the above laundry list of issues in our world is that the things that divide us are growing in intensity and people are becoming more and more polarized in these discussions, with no end in sight save a major crisis.

2) If we don’t change a heart, we haven’t changed anything at all. Really! You cannot force long-term change into a country (including ours) unless we address the matter of the heart. Integrity, virtue, dignity of human life, equality, benevolence, and love do not come from the end of a gun or the stroke of a judge’s pen.

3) Jesus and His church are the only hope for this sinking ship. Sorry to be so narrow, but, really, I see no other hope. Therefore, what you do when you share Jesus Christ with your own ‘oikos, household,’ you are saving the world. When you give of yourself and your resources to bring others the message and love of Jesus, you are spreading the only balm that can truly heal. When you band together with other like-minded believers to accomplish benevolence, you are allowing God to take our meager gifts and make some miracle happen (like the boy who gave his 5 loaves and 2 fish). So, don’t throw in the towel. Stay engaged. Stay connected. Stay in prayer. Continue to believe that God can and will work in hearts in the middle of the gathering storm clouds.

Pastor Bruce Senior Pastor