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  • Ed Hlad

Slow Talkers

We could use a few more slow talkers today. People who seem to think about every word they say before they say it. People who are not quick to give their opinion but mull things over before they speak their minds. People who think through how their words are going to affect those around them. One of the dangers of social media is that it allows us to say what is on our mind before it has cooked enough in our brain. Too often our written words are raw and not ready for consumption. We are too quick to answer a matter before we hear it (Prov 18:13,17) and we end up regretting giving our opinion before we have all the facts. Before social media, we might have had a few days before we had the opportunity to speak on an issue. This gave us time to cool down and time to hear the many sides of the issue. The issues we are facing today are not simple issues that have simple answers. While it is clear that racism must be faced and that excessive force by police officers must end, the ways to do that are not simple and easy. Knee jerk reactions result in unsustainable solutions that only make things worse. Righteous anger leads to righteous solutions.

I am nervous for the church of God. In the last few weeks, we have not been the light and salt that God has called us to be. We join hands too quickly with groups and movements that espouse ideas and principles that are secular at best and antibiblical at worse. We have stopped viewing people as individuals and have added to the problem by viewing people in groups. Paul, moved by the Holy Spirit, believed that we are one people (Gal 3:28, Col 3:11) with one problem, and one solution. When we divide each other by race, social status, or political affiliation we do more to divide than we do to unite. Certainly, we need to hear and react to those oppressed and to those in need but how we do so is very important. Seeing people in groups causes us to allow the few to define the many. We see everyone young black teen in a hoodie as a problem and every white cop as the enemy. We no longer see people but we see a characterization of “those people”. How many Bible principles have we broken over the past several weeks in the name of loving an oppressed group? I agree this is an important time in our country’s history. We need to face our sinful hearts. We need to recognize the prejudices we hold and we need to change. We need to stand up for those who are being abused and oppressed. We need to stand for justice. But is this being driven by Christlike love? Is this demand for justice being driven by a heart that is overwhelmed by the gospel? Is this anger a righteous anger for the glory of God? We must stand but we must stand in the truth. We cannot allow our demand for justice to drown out the voice of the gospel. As we stand, do we stand ashamed of the gospel, or do we stand because of the gospel?

We, as believers, often run towards those issues that we can agree on with those who do not know Christ. We know that loving Jesus makes us different. We must stand against the moral tide of our culture. So when we are able to agree with culture on some issues, such as race, we often are excited and run to stand and help. In doing so, at times, we struggle to see that while we may agree on what is wrong we cannot disagree more on why it is wrong and what the solution is. That does not mean that we do not get involved. We do. That is one way we are salt and light. But in doing so, we must never forget that the glory of God and the proclamation of the gospel is our primary goal. We must control our narrative or we will lose our saltiness.

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