Dear Peddie Church Family,
In recent weeks, we have been shaken by the acts of appalling violence in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in St. Paul, Minnesota, in Dallas, Texas, and in Nice, France. We lament the tragic loss of the civilians, police officers, and innocent bystanders, each person bearing the image of God, and we grieve together with the families who have lost their loved ones.
In the face of such horrific violence, we cannot help but wonder: What’s happening in the world? Will the violence ever end? What is our response? What can we do as followers of Jesus Christ?
A temptation in times like these is to react out of fear, despair, and anger. More than ever, we need to turn to the Scripture for guidance. Among many relevant passages, let me suggest Psalm 37 as our guide (please meditate on this Psalm).
First, instead of reacting in the manner of the world, we need to “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Psa 37:7), and allow our response to arise from this stillness.
In this age of instant opinions, it is easy to be swayed by what goes viral on social media. But what goes viral has little to do with knowledge and understanding; rather, it reflects the collective flesh. As the Psalmist David reminds us, fretting, i.e., allowing ourselves to be agitated by anger, leads only to evil (Psa 37:8).
Our response must arise from the unshakable stillness that comes from being immersed in the presence of the Almighty. Knowing that God reigns over every single affair in the universe and will deal justly with evildoers, we can be still before Him in the midst of turbulent storms beating around us. Only then, our words and deeds will contribute toward healing and reconciliation of the nations and ethnic groups.
Second, we need to cultivate the heart of meekness, for “the meek will inherit the land” (Psa 37:11).
Meekness is a posture of the heart. It does not mean spineless passivity or timidity. The Prophet Moses and our Lord Jesus were the two people who were described as “meek” in the Bible. The meek are those who respond with grace when they are insulted or attacked.
As a society, our hearts have become callous. We are quick to react in anger but slow to understand others, especially those who are different from ourselves. No amount of tweaking public policies would change the settled inclination of the heart. What is desperately needed is the transformation of the heart, starting from each one of us.
We as a Kingdom people need to cultivate the heart of meekness – the heart that looks at each person with mercy, kindness, and compassion. None of us have it in us. It must come from the Holy Spirit as we fix our eyes on Christ.
May God fill each one of us with His Spirit that our hearts may be infused with the meekness of Christ.
In the service of Christ,
– Pastor James