Shane Idleman on What Can Happen When We Focus Solely on the Cross

Shane Idleman (l) and Associate Pastor Abram Thomas working side by side to further the kingdom at Westside Christian Fellowship. (Courtesy of Shane Idleman)

Martin Luther King Jr., in the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” on April 16, 1963, wrote, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

I hold the same opinion today.

We are all Americans; more importantly, we are Christians. We are in this together. Our future and our children’s futures are at stake.

Evil forces are seeking to dismantle us by destroying our unity. (Sermons on this can be found here.) Christians need to speak up against all forms of racism and injustice when they see or experience them. “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented” (Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor).

As I continue to read the news feeds, my heart immediately goes out to the children being raised in today’s environment (many with no fathers to guide them) viewing this world through the dark lens of hopelessness and fear presented in every form of communication around them. But what if we looked through a different lens—a biblical lens?

—Yes, some people used the Bible to support slavery. That was wrong. But evil people have always tried to pervert the Word of God to support their godless agendas. It is happening in our own day with so-called Christians twisting Scripture to support gay marriage and abortion. For example, watch this Fox News clip of me debating a “Christian” professor about the topic of Jesus being OK with abortion. My hands tremble even writing this.

—Instead of taking down every statue, why don’t we teach history again? Auschwitz stands in Germany for a reason—so people will not forget.

—What if more people knew that many of America’s founders were responsible for planting the first seeds of equality and for the eventual end of slavery in America? People who want to incite anger and hatred reject this truth because it doesn’t fit their narrative or their agenda that America is evil.

—What if we remember all the parents who lost sons (more than 300,000 from the Union side alone) fighting for freedom during the Civil War?

—What if we truly comprehended that we are all made in the image of God without a racial hierarchy?

—What if we stopped allowing the secular media to shape our thinking and instead got back to the Bible? Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report . … think on these things.” How are you doing in this area?

—What if we understood that what some define as racism in the church is not racism at all but preference? We all “prefer” certain settings and styles of worship. Ethnic groups as well as age groups generally have preferences that are based on experience and upbringing—on what is familiar and comfortable.

—What if we erred on the side of grace and didn’t always assume that a person—white or black—was a racist?

—What if parents fostered unity instead of promoted division? Racism and division are not inherited; these sinful patterns are taught, and children are influenced heavily by the ideals of their parents.

—What if we acknowledge that the true source of this conflict is spiritual and that we are in a battle against a common enemy (see Eph. 6:12)?

We Need Spiritual Reform Over Social Reform

Sadly, those who do not forgive or release bitterness, anger and hurt never experience freedom, happiness or true restoration. Ephesians 4:31–32 encourages us to “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outbursts, and blasphemies, with all malice, be taken away from you. And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.” Without this change of heart, hope is elusive.

Advocates of the lie of “separation of church and state” have held Americans in bondage for far too long. How much longer will we allow their godless agenda to remove God from America? God’s Word must be allowed in all areas, from police precincts to government offices and from schools to inner cities and state prisons. We need spiritual reform more than social reform. In fact, social reform cannot really happen unless the hearts of individuals who make up that society are changed. Only God can change a cold, unforgiving, bitter heart of stone into a warm, hope-filled heart.

We must stop walking on the eggshells of political correctness and stop seeking collective redemption from the world. God is our only hope! We must repent of personal sin and seek Jesus for personal redemption. He changes us from the inside out, and in turn we change the world around us, sharing with others what God has given us—the peace that surpasses all understanding (see Phil. 4:7).

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SOURCE: Charisma News