2020 has been quite the year. Everyone talked about perfect vision. Then, the proverbial feces hit the fan. COVID-19 swept the world and still is. There were murder hornets. One man’s show of unnecessary force was met with unnecessary nation-wide outrage. People are being killed by sickness and one-another. I know what’s going on here. I see it on a daily basis. When my two-year-old doesn’t agree with his parental authorities about something, he throws a tantrum. This is the same two-year-old who asked if zombies were real. I could only answer, “2020 is not over yet.” He doesn’t yet have the ability to judge justly or to reason with his parents. He doesn’t yet have the ability to make logical formulations and communicate those thoughts to others. I am tempted to say the adults of our generation are simply bigger toddlers throwing louder and more violent tantrums than my two-year-old. They were never discipled at home or church. The appropriate neural pathways never seem to have formed, and mental and emotional health seems to be at an all-time low.
Reasonable communication is almost foreign to sinful people. I come across the inability to communicate on a daily basis. Someone disagrees with me. Instead of explaining his or her disagreement reasonably, I have had my life threatened, I have been called Satan, I have been told I have a spirit of Jezebel, I have been named a fool, and I’ve been labeled an unloving bigot. But, I have not been the one name-calling. I am usually the one striving to have a reasonable conversation while considering the evidence at hand. The tantrum response indicates a deeper problem than mere mischief—most people have no idea how to think critically or communicate their thoughts. They can only achieve their goals violently. In this, we have become no better than the unjust crusaders, jihadists, zionists, zealots, terrorists, and militant cults of our world. Tantrums—a great indwelling hatred we have disguised using terms of justice. This isn’t justice; It’s vengeance. Most things termed social justice are merely unjust vengeance, and their retributions are often perpetrated against those who actually seek justice. I, for one, am not disappointed. Scripture is perspicuous about the depraved human condition, humanity’s unrighteousness, and people’s great sin. I am, though, heartbroken. The donkey has not been democratic but insights chaos and anarchy. The elephant has not represented the people as a republic ought. Instead, she has trumpeted hate in response to hate—first with the novel caronavirus and then with the protests. The ironies cannot be missed; Progressives are tearing down progressive cities, and conservatives hate conservatives for closing down economies or being wary of a killer virus. We return racism for racism. We argue by calling one another idiots instead of having a reasonable dialogue as brothers and sisters under one flag. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we are in the midst of the new civil war—because of tantrums on both sides. I am here, an American, heartbroken because of my countrymen and women. The hatred is so great. Some of y’all never read Andrew Murray’s diatribe on humility. Some of y’all never read God’s 66-book love letter (that’s the Bible). Some of y’all are entirely unfamiliar with John Locke’s political philosophy and the logical defense behind the constitutional view that all people are equal and should be equally free. It shows. Pause here. Grab a beer before continuing; You may need it. I cannot, at this point, praise either the donkey or elephant. Neither can I praise those nonprofit and religious organizations that exacerbate injustice, masking their language using terms of justice.
Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ. He preached the Gospel of grace and experienced much persecution because people did not like his message. While in Corinth, preparing to leave and deliver the proceeds from donations he received to Jerusalem, he wrote a letter to Christians in Rome. He instructed Christians to do something controversial, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1a). Paul’s statement was unqualified. Rome persecuted Christians. Rome would imprison and behead Paul later in his life. The police equivalent were corrupt and loyal to the emperor, not necessarily the people. Yet, Paul, plenarily inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote that every person is to be subject to the government. Why? “For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Romans 13:1b). We live in such a nation where the conservatives refuse to bow the knee to a governor’s stay at home order because of a pandemic and progressives refuse to reasonably urge the courts to judge justly. Instead, conservatives cry out about unalienable rights to assemble and progressives cry out about justice while demanding the peacekeeping and justice systems be defunded. Tantrums. Meanwhile, those who truly love Jesus are trying to be reasonable, love their countrymen by judging justly, and their voice is being drowned out by the clamoring fits and fists of those who have forgotten how to dialogue—who, on both sides of the political spectrum, hope to get what they want by elevating their voices and shaking their fists. If I were running for office this year, my slogan would be, “Calm the heck down.” No one would vote for me. You see the loudest and one of the most hateful people around won the previous election. That, in itself, reveals a little about who we are as a nation. The beauty of America was once the free exchange of ideas and fair representation on Capitol Hill. Lately, the only opinion people want is their own; They want it to come out of others’ mouths as well as their own. Any dissenters will be prosecuted, and we will call it justice… If others are not like us, we will simply resort to calling them idiots and adding slander upon slander instead of having a reasonable dialogue. That’s the opposite of wisdom. Wisdom learns from others; Iron sharpens iron.
Paul absolutely trusted in God’s sovereignty. No government exists or is staffed apart from God’s sovereign decree. “Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves” (Romans 13:2). Of course Paul did not mean that one should always obey every human law. He transgressed Rome’s law to preach Christ and Christ crucified. But, he was willing to suffer the state’s consequence when he willfully transgressed its law. Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. put it nicely, “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws,” and in another place, “We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.” Why? Like Paul, MLK Jr. wanted to speak for justice while submitting Himself to God and to the authorities God placed. The courage to reason when the world is unreasonable costs much, requires more patience, and requires the humility of a father trying to teach his toddler in the midst of an ear-piercing and mind-numbing tantrum. Everyone wants to simply have love and acceptance, but no-one wants to reason with others. Without reason, there is no unity and we are proving it more and more. We need Christ and His word preached faithfully through true local churches more than ever. May this be our endeavor.
I have friends who are conservatives and progressives and liberals. Doubtless many of you will read my plea. Many will read this in countries other than the United States while watching our drama unfold from the outside. I do not say, “Just be better.” I do not believe we have the power to overcome our unrighteous natures. I do preach the cross, the cross. For, when we understand God’s place and confess that Christ is truly Lord, we come to trust that He is really and sovereignly working all things together. May we come and reason together as Christ’s church. May we take every opportunity to speak about injustice reasonably and consider others thoughts logically. May we become willing to suffer the consequences for our speech if God so calls us to do so for His glory and not our own. Please, I beg you, consider the person, word, and work of Jesus Christ in these moments. May we seek after His counsel and righteousness. If you do not know Jesus. I pray He draws you to Himself today. I pray you experience the goodness of the contentment to which He brings His true children.