When Jesus saw the crowds, he was moved with compassion and pity for them, for they were distressed, dispirited, dejected, downcast, weary and wandering, confused and helpless, worn out, scattered, worried, harassed, cast away, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 9:36 (NIV; NLT; ESV; NKJB; NASB; CSB; HCSB; AMP; ASB; Aramaic; CEV; ERV; GNT)
Don’t we see all of this in the people around us today? People who once professed singularity so easily slide into the murky gloom of group-think.
Jesus showed leadership by being singular in His thinking and was, and is still, trustworthy for it. His thinking was different. It still is.
We each have a voice and we must use it. The bible holds the answers we need to influence our decisions in life with our families. But what kind of thinking is it?
2 Peter 1:10 says we are to make our calling and election sure. Ok, that’s not talking about government elections per se, but it makes a point, doesn’t it? We are to be responsible for the part we play as good citizens. Romans 13 is a rundown of how to be a good citizen, also reminding us that God’s law comes first. It also reminds us that love is the fulfilment of the law.
We've recently had elections in this country, so lets take that as an illustration - also relevant because Jesus is Himself, the ultimate world leader.
Do politicians uphold the law of love? If we were to apply the law of love to the political arena it would change freedoms, speech, pursuing values that enrich the family, emotional health and well-being for all, the rights of all not just some, upholding truth and trustworthiness rather than allowing political reforms to sway personal identity and need for popularity.
What do we do ourselves? What do we say ourselves? How do we make choices for ourselves?
What I see globally and nationally, is not lack of agreement creating hostilities and unacceptance, but lack of acceptance towards disagreeing.
Society has always had disagreement. Churches and families have always had disagreement. The cancelation of open, constructive disagreement in culture is creating more damage than open disagreement ever caused.
It’s not disagreement that should be feared, it’s the subversion of disagreement we should be concerned about.
Absolute truth is frowned upon. There’s a grooming taking place in governments, television, social media and schools that’s wrong. Yes. There, I said it. Wrong. That’s an ugly word now a days, isn’t it? W-r-o-n-g. It's the same as o-b-e-y. And s-u-b-m-i-t. Or h-u-m-i-l-i-t-y. What about moral-decay? There are other offensive words too, such as should, ought, never, always. We are being told these words should never be used because they're absolutes. (Can you spot the oxymoron here?)
Rather than allow ourselves to be groomed by a societal trend to be accepting of everything and anything we need to have wisdom and discernment for personal choice, personal citizenship, value and destiny.
Jesus had compassion. He was not intimidated by the needs of the people or the lies of the leaders around Him. He saw in faith and moved in the truth of His Father in heaven, speaking only what the Father said.
Jesus knew the goodness of the Father, and He worked from there. He didn’t work from a place of hostility against ‘them’ that disagreed. He didn’t work from a place of fear or even justification. He just got on with loving people, helping people whether that was criminalised or not, whether He agreed with them or not, liked them or not, speaking up because it mattered, hearing the Father and doing what was right according to the Father. He wasn’t afraid to act out of balance with the culture. He wasn’t afraid to be noticed. He wasn’t going to be put into a box. He was ok with going against the grain of His culture. He knew who He was and He knew who the people were. Like sheep without a shepherd.
Jesus moved in as a Shepherd. A good shepherd, with compassion, pity and humility. He put love into operation even with the hostility, fear and confusion around Him, and aimed at Him.
How we live, what we think, what we say, what we choose, how we vote matters, especially when it’s counter-cultural. Be brave, and be compassionate.
Be like Jesus. Help yourself!
Isaiah 40:3-5 (NLT)
Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed.