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Upside Down

Recently my eyes, ears, and mind have been distracted by a strange incongruence. Marginal, minor, questionable, uncertain infractions against "the law" committed by peaceful, constructive, productive, respectful, conservative citizens are being scrutinized and the "perpetrators" singled out for punishment. (To be clear, I'm referring to those who are not social distancing or who are failing to wear a mask, etc.) That would be bad enough. But, it would be tolerable and even understandable if it weren't for the fact that at the same time overt disrespect and violent disregard for civilization and authority is being overlooked, excused, defended, and even commended. In many cases by the same voices!

It almost seems like some government authorities have given up on dealing with the worst elements of society and have decided to settle for dealing with only minor infractions. That's understandable too, I guess. There doesn't seem to be much resistance against punishing people for assembling for worship or for not wearing a mask. Oh, a few people complain that it doesn't make sense, but that's all. But if there is a show of force against those who are actually a true danger and threat to public peace and safety, the response is so over the top that apparently some officials consider it not worth the trouble.

But should it matter whether justice is popular or not?

Look, I'm in favor of obeying the law. I'm for submitting to every ordinance of man. I'm for bending over backward and doing all that I can to cooperate with edicts and interpretations as far as I possibly can. Even when I think they are ridiculous. Even when I can see plainly that the strategy is counterproductive. If I can still do my duties as a Christian and comply with government overreach and abuse of power, I try to do so. I'm willing to speak up about the injustice, but still strive to comply as much as is possible.

However, in the grand scheme of things, there are some civil authorities who need to reconsider what they are focusing on. It would make no sense (in order to write a parking ticket for man who is double parked) to walk past another man who is stabbing his mother with a butcher knife. Double parking should be dealt with, sure. But not just because it's easier to deal with. And not because the guy doing the stabbing has a lot of threatening companions.

I realize that there are Christians who take 2 different extreme positions on this thing. One side wants to start a revolution. The other side want to lie down in the street and be run over. Thankfully, neither side is likely to do what their rhetoric intimates. Yet to some extent, both positions have some valid points. In America, we have a constitutional republic and every citizen has a right and responsibility to do our part to preserve our noble system. Yet too, we who are Christians have a higher citizenship; a higher loyalty. The testimony of Christ is more important than our political freedom.

So what do we do? I wish I knew.

Well, I do know some things we can do. We can pray, that's for sure. We should pray. Fervently. Faithfully. Humbly. But that's not all.

If we have any influence at all in the policies and practices of our community, we need to encourage and support our government officials when they act in a right and just direction. There is much than can be accomplished through sincere relationships and sympathetic dialogue. We need to recognize the stress and pressure that our law enforcement officers are enduring. Some of us can communicate with judges and policy makers and remind them of the importance of empowering and supporting the men and women on the streets who carry out the execution of justice. And, we must educate our children well. The twisted propaganda that is often presented to our children as "education" must be contradicted and dismembered.

But ultimately, the answer is not a political one. The solution is not academic. Community conversations, social dialogue, activism, participation in the political process, legal pressure - none of those things will get the job done. Truly, the only solution is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Spirit-filled men and women love their enemies and do good to those who despitefully use and abuse them.

I'm for building big jails and locking up criminals. But in the end, jails will not cure what ails our society. If rioters, looters, anarchists, liberal pundits, social justice warriors, secularists, power intoxicated politicians, abortion supporters, gender benders, fear-mongers, race baiters, and foul-mouthed brats are driving you crazy or scaring the bejeebies out of you, recognize that what they need is the same thing everybody else needs. They need Jesus. And that's not just a snide remark made with sideways levity. He really and truly is the solution.

Things ARE upside down in out culture and society right now. And the only hope of turning things around; the only way to get things right side up again is for people to find and follow Christ in sincere submission and faith. Until then, you might as well get used to the strange ways of a society that punishes good and excuses evil. Or at the least, who punishes those who will cooperate and turns a blind eye to those who are unmanageable and out of control altogether. In any case, the answer is not for noble citizens to start acting like the fools who are destroying everything they touch. That kind of upside down would be even worse.

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