22 things bin Laden’s death has revealed about Christians for all the world to see

This is my final post regarding Osama bin Laden. Given what I have witnessed over the past ten days in my deliberate and deep observation and investigation into what I hear and see Christians “of all tribes” speaking and writing concerning the death of Osama bin Laden, I have come to the following conclusions.

A great number of Christians are apparently:

  • reluctant to value all human life as equally valuable before God.
  • unaccustomed to feeling remorse for, or even grieving, the death of any and all who die outside of a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ, unless they be a close family member or dear friend.
  • quick to go with the flow of the cultural and political river that surrounds them, rather than, if necessary, deliberately swimming against the tide with Scripture as their guiding light.
  • want to confuse American nationalism and patriotism with Christian faith and worship of God.
  • resistant to even the suggestion to pray for all people, especially those who would be rightly construed as “enemies,” even though they are commanded to do so by their Lord.
  • quite inexperienced in praying about any and all matters pertaining to war except for offering up pleas for God’s protection on “our troops” and for those troops to come home safely and quickly.
  • suspicious or even frightened by the revelation that others might interpret the Bible differently when the subjects of government or military service are raised.
  • not above making broad, sweeping statements of judgment about entire populations and ethnics of people on the basis of little or no real knowledge about such people.
  • content to have their understanding and perspective of global happenings shaped by a very limited number and kind of media sources; that is, they like to have their news thought out for them and presented from only one angle.
  • more concerned about their own national security, yes, even their own personal safety, than they are about confessing and living out the cross-shaped life of Christ, to whatever end that might lead them in this life.
  • persuaded the protection of their life is shaped and determined more by Heckler & Koch, Smith & Wesson, Colt, Glock, Sikorsky, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, etc. than the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • numb or callous to, perhaps even comfortable with, physical violence and killing.
  • unafraid to glory in such undertakings as we have come know as “just war,” surgical strikes,” and “acceptable collateral damage.”
  • convinced that anything even remotely resembling a pacifist understanding of the teaching of Christ and the apostles should be immediately labeled, without real investigation and consideration, as cowardly and foolhardy at best, and more likely dangerous, demented, and damnable.
  • more enthusiastic about their trust in political and military power than they are about the power, purpose, and purity of the Almighty God.
  • Biblically illiterate, being largely unfamiliar with the writings they claim are sacred and will determine their destiny, and so, are unable to converse coherently and correctly with others who inquire of them as what they believe and why in regard to current events.
  • ashamed of God, for they rarely think first of, or make mention of, him or the teachings of God’s book, the Bible, when formulating or stating their perspective of major world events.
  • divided over even the most fundamental matters of Christian faith, such as doing to others as you would have them do to you, the “Golden Rule.”
  • oblivious to the fact the world is constantly watching our reactions to world events and, on the basis of their observations, deciding whether or not there is real life-changing power in Christian faith.
  • not mindful of the fact that the only thing that separates any and all of us from someone like Osama bin Laden is a difference not in kind, but only degree, for there is none righteous, no not one; all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
  • not much different from those who are yet to believe.
  • like myself, have a very long way to go yet in terms of complete imitation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I say these things to our shame and do so with the humble prayer that all who believe – myself first and foremost – would be humbled and repent of all that does not reflect the light of our Holy God. May we come to give greater and more authentic witness of the only true, holy, and living God. May more come to believe, not stumbling over our failings to submit completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Father in heaven, may your Holy Spirit bathe our minds with your will and wisdom. May conviction well up in our hearts. May the blood of your Son Jesus wash our sins away. May every knee come to bow to you before their fleshly knees fail them and die. In the name of Jesus, our Lord, we pray. Amen. And amen.

the world has to answer to God

So what are we saying? Are we better off? Not at all. We have already stated the charge: both Jews and Greeks are all under the power of sin. As it is written,

There is no righteous person, not even one.
There is no one who understands.
There is no one who looks for God.
They all turned away.
They have become worthless together.
There is no one who shows kindness.
There is not even one.
Their throat is a grave that has been opened.
They are deceitful with their tongues,
and the poison of vipers is under their lips.
Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are quick to shed blood;
destruction and misery are in their ways;
and they don’t know the way of peace.
There is no fear of God in their view of the world.

Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, in order to shut every mouth and make it so the whole world has to answer to God. It follows that no human being will be treated as righteous in his presence by doing what the Law says, because the knowledge of sin comes through the Law. (Romans 3:9-20 CEB)

Some trust they will be able to stand before God someday having lived a life ignoring him here. Others believe their attentiveness to him here will cause them to receive the declaration “righteous” from God. But Paul here dares to tells us the unvarnished truth – we all are big screw-ups in God’s eyes. Acting like God isn’t real doesn’t make God go away. Neither does banking on our fastidiousness of obeying every detail we believe has come from him clear our way to him.

For all of us – no exceptions – there is this mountain of a wall between us and God. And this mountain has a name. Sin. Indeed, as Paul pictures it here, sin is not so much a mountain between us and God so much as it is that we are crushed under the weight of this mountain. We are:

“… under the power of sin.” (vs.9)

Now it’s extremely difficult to get over a mountain, but such might be doable. But we live in a tiny pocket centered within the base of a enormous mountain. Who can possibly dig out from under it? Escape on our own is beyond impossible, it is ludicrous. We are buried under a mountain, entombed alive by our sins, and with each passing day with use up what little oxygen we have left with our sins of disrespect, deceit and division.

“They all turned away.
They have become worthless together.
There is no one who shows kindness.
There is not even one. ” (vs.12)

If there is any hope whatsoever, it can come only from the outside. Someone must come and have what it takes to dig us out and rescue us from the dense, dark weight of our own wrong doings.

Heavenly Father, hear my cry – rescue me from this grave I have dug for myself. Send your best into my heart to save me, I pray! Amen.