It feels hard lately, doesn’t it? I just read about a man who took a woman’s limp body and forced his body inside of hers. Pine needles stayed in her hair and all she had was a paper bag to revisit the night his body hammered hers, outside and inside. Skin-to-skin, heart-to-heart.
I’ve been inundated with messages about bathrooms and sexuality. Marriage between a man and a woman is no longer a standard, sacred. And in the same breath, let’s be clear that that divorce rates are still high. And so are abortions. And so is sin. It’s all escalating. All of it.
The media stormed us with a gorilla and I sadly scrolled through comments that a gorilla’s life means more than a child’s. Then, the shooting at a (majority) LGBT night club and evidence proves that life is no longer upheld as anything and it
To make matters worse, it’s as if we can’t control ourselves and we (Christians) throw around harsh words to one another on the cold, hard internet. As if this is toiling the soil for cultivation.
When all it is doing is tearing the soul through degradation.
And tearing and toiling are two very separate acts. One creates sprouts of life, the other throws seeds to the wind.
I am for seeds.
With seeds come life. And fruit. And tender sprouts of wonder. Wonder about how big the fruit might be. What color it might turn. What it will feel like when it yields in full.
With degradation comes dirt flung in the air. And this does nothing except create mess chaos.
We are living in a chaos when Christ called us to live in peace.
Church, we can’t keep doing this.
The problem with where we are now is that there is no turning back. So many of us are lamenting that we aren’t the nation we once were. Yes, my darlings, we are no longer in the 1950s. And of course, it’s maddening. But like our stories, they make us.
Our stories make us up, day written by next day and next day. They become our hem, our lining. Patterns appear and the stories — they never leave us. We can’t ignore them or push them aside. Neither can we hash them around and pick them apart to be analyzed from every angle.
We have to learn how to approach our stories, our culture, our nation and weave the gospel into them. We have three choices to in how we approach our culture and I pray we cultivate the land we have been given well. Because truth of it all is heaven and hell are real. And we get one life to live. And these are our stories. So let’s at least give our best efforts at the ground we’ve been given.
CHOICE ONE: PANIC
I can panic. I can throw words around like swords. I can use the internet improperly and give what should be grace-filled conversations an ice-cold twist. Our world is watching us, Church. How we treat one another. How we spur one another on. I think about Jesus and how He commissioned us. We are to love one another. We are to lay down our lives for one another. We are to serve one another.
Are we? Are you? Are you holding your tongue back even if there is a difference of opinions between you and another believer? Because there will be a difference (women pastors, alcohol, worship music, school choices, and on and on we go). But for the sake of the fine linens we have been given as the Bride of Christ, can we simply figure out a way to use our words carefully?
In black and white, this means not launching into an attack on the world wide web. When this happens we start destroying the ground we’ve been given, rather than cultivating it. In so doing, people only see the dirt being flung rather than the seeds being planted.
Be careful about where you use your words, friends. You are representing Christ when you open your mouth. Let that be a filter that covers your mouth.
CHOICE TWO: IGNORE
This is the nearest and dearest to my heart. As one who works at a pregnancy center as a pro-woman, pro-life, pro-love advocate, I have witnessed how we all tend to air on the side of ignorance.
What I don’t know won’t hurt me.
Until it does.
I can’t begin to tell you the countless pastors I’ve called to tell them that a pregnancy center exists in their area and we long to help women in unplanned pregnancies. I can’t begin to explain to you the bleakness of those conversations. It’s as if we can turn a blind eye or declare that “life” a political conversation rather than a Jesus’ one.
Certainly its crazy to believe young men and women (even believers) are having sex outside of marriage. Certainly they would never get pregnant.
Except it’s not. It happens. Every day.
Everywhere, the church is turning a blind eye and this does many things but the one that maddens my soul: Our ignorance sends a woman into shame and isolation.
And she becomes silo-ed.
And the enemy harps.
Until her story and her pattern seems irrefutable.
And she stops believing.
All because we chose to ignore the problem. We can’t anymore.
Dear Church, we must be the most excellent communicators drenched in the most proficient grace, laced in lavish love, holding out beautiful boundaries. And I didn’t even go into how we treat the unbeliever in this situation. (We treat her the same, friends, the exact same).
CHOICE THREE: REPENT
Finally. We repent. I repent. The Church repents. Get this: Maybe God is giving us all time to repent. To repent of the areas that we have panicked. Repent of the areas we have ignored.
God is slow to anger. He is also just. Judgment is coming. Hell is real. Did we do everything we could to cultivate the soil well? Did we plant seeds gently or did we make a mess?
This could be our greatest time. In fact, I believe that this is our greatest time, sweet sisters. I believe God is waking us up. We must heed the call. We must put on our gloves. We can plant wisely. We need to take time to learn how to till the land, gently plant seeds, think through all of our actions and get back to our first love.
Why do we plant in the first place?
Because He saved our soul.
That is ground worth preparing. The harvest is incredibly near. Let’s get to work wisely. Our time is now.