It’s taken time to process the events of the last few weeks. Many of us watched in utter dismay as chaos erupted in our streets. But the riots and unrest across our nation are not the problem; they are merely symptoms. That’s why spiritual eyesight is crucial. Viewing these events through the lens of Scripture helps us understand how we got to this point. So, what does the Bible say about recent rioting?
We reap what we sow. (Galatians 6:7-8)
I learned three truths about reaping and sowing early in life: 1) You always reap what you sow; 2) you reap later than you sow; and 3) you usually reap when you least expect it. Well, America has been sowing seeds of anger and violence for a very long time. After all, what is the slaughtering of the unborn if not violence. We’ve also desensitized a generation by glorifying violence in movies, music, and video games.
Additionally, angry political discourse has kicked up a notch since the 2016 election. Our politicians engage in constant name-calling and mud-slinging. It’s more gamesmanship than statesmanship. Then the media throws fuel on the fire by telling us how outraged we should be. Of course, what causes the outrage varies from one political perspective the other.
Even many Christians seem to be angry most of the time; at least if social media is the gauge. Now, I understand what righteous anger is and agree that there’s plenty going on to stir it up. But too many believers are consumed with confronting and condemning anyone who doesn’t share their convictions. There’s nothing righteous about some of the posts I see from brothers and sisters in Christ.
From the Whitehouse to the church house, America is just plain angry. Combined with the increasing tendency toward violence, it’s not all that surprising that rioting erupted in our streets. We’re simply reaping what’s been sown.
Unresolved anger gives the devil opportunity. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
Anger isn’t necessarily wrong. Righteous anger expresses itself at the right thing, in the right way, and at the right time. Being angry over injustice is appropriate. However, violent rioting, looting, and arson have nothing to do with righteous anger. Stealing a television is just a crime of opportunity. So yes, our collective unresolved anger has given the devil an opportunity. And with every passing day we seem to be giving him permission to do as he pleases.
Godly justice is served with kindness and humility. (Micah 6:8)
People are using the word “justice” a lot these days but are warping its meaning. A few in the media even defended the riots as a perfectly legitimate way to seek justice. Again, that’s just giving evil permission to run wild. I remind you, we will reap what we sow.
God does not separate justice from kindness and humility. Since only He is inherently just (Deuteronomy 32:4), His standard of justice overrides any human standard. So, we cannot truly do justice, without also loving kindness, and walking humbly with God. Without godly humility, we deceive ourselves into believing that we can accomplish what only God can provide.
Where do we go from here?
If the riots are merely a symptom of a deeper problem, then what’s the solution? Well, since it’s a spiritual issue we need a spiritual answer. First, believers need to see our world through the lens of God’s Word. Our thoughts and opinions should be shaped more by God’s point of view than by political commentary; even when it’s conservative. Then we need to open our mouths and speak godly wisdom.
But primarily, those of us who claim the name of Jesus need to humble ourselves in genuine repentance. As we watch these types of events unfold, our initial thoughts and reactions often expose attitudes in need of correction. Are you willing to deal with any pride or prejudice God reveals in your heart? As believers, we need some knees to the ground and face to the floor repentance. In His mercy, God’s forgives, and by His grace we can overcome.