Jesus and American Thuggery

photo-1590962977676-19c260abaf0bMobs are screaming, commentators are speaking, windows are breaking, monuments are falling, inventory is evaporating, buildings are burning, and lives are being ruined. It is a day of anger and anarchy in the United States of America. Wow, 2020 just keeps throwing bombs at us — one disaster after another.

Well, what does Jesus think as he looks down upon the current crisis erupting throughout our land?

I believe Jesus is filled with intense sorrow, righteous indignation, unfathomable grace, and fair justice, and I think we should endeavor to do the same.

Intense Sorrow

photo-1495558685573-aba7573d9c01In Luke 19, As Jesus marches into the capital city of Jerusalem, he finds it to be a place filled with sectarian groups, self-righteous clerics, unjust politicians, selfish nationalists, and a foolish populace who will soon be chanting, “Crucify him, crucify him!” As he reviews the situation, he shows himself to be overcome with emotion. The Son of God looks at his precious nation and breaks down weeping.

Today, I believe Jesus is doing the same. With perfect emotions and a broken heart he sees the devilish chaos being expressed and experienced throughout the United States of America. The Perfect Man, he cries.

Therefore, let us seek to have the mind of Christ, and let us respond after his leadership. Let us lament the depravity of men, systems, institutions, and governments. Let us have have incredible empathy for those in pain. Let us take a moment and weep over:

  • Officers abusing the law.
  • Attorneys being slow in making charges.
  • A family who lost a loved one.
  • A black community being reminded again of past and present injustices.
  • American racism and classism — left and right, black and white.
  • Incompetent leaders — abusive or apathetic.
  • Lawful protesting transitioning into unlawful rioting.
  • Personal possessions and businesses lost.
  • Historical monuments and buildings ruined.
  • Lives being taken.
  • Anarchy being espoused.
  • Social divides growing wider and wider.
  • People trusting in something or someone other than Jesus Christ.

Friends, this is a day to respond like Jesus. This is a day for tears. Join me in private and public lamentation.

Righteous Indignation

In the book of Hebrews, it is said of Jesus Christ, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” (Heb. 1:9)  I believe Jesus Christ is looking down upon the United States of America, and he is filled with holy hatred. Oh, how he is incensed with godly rage against Satan, devilish thugs, and all manner of sin.

But let’s be careful before we go there. Who exactly are the “thugs” in our land? There are some who would like to wax eloquent in this regard. They would like to think their sin is not as great as “those other people.” Some would chant, “Wicked are those uniformed in blue.” Others would conclude and teach that those in suits and robes are most repugnant. On the right side of the aisle, they would quickly condemn all those protesting and/or rioting in black. Yes, we are all quick to consider the toothpick in our brother’s eye while ignoring the telephone poll in our own. Quick we are to pray with the Pharisee, “God, I thank you I am not a sinner like ________________.”

However, what does God say? Who exactly are the “thugs” in our land according to the Just Judge of all men? God reminds us, as he did Abraham, that there are not ten righteous people in our land. No one is perfect  No one is holy. All are guilty. All are rebellious anarchists in the eyes of the Father, and all should be put down. Sure, not all of God’s anarchists have committed equal public damage, but all deserve nothing but his judgment, wrath, condemnation, and sentence. We are “thugs,” all of us.

Therefore, before we go further, let us confess our sins. Let us join Jesus in despising our sins of idolatry. As Americans, we all have too little love for God and too much love for ourselves. Every time we sin, we are inwardly saying “yes” to self-worship and “no” to the good will of our Heavenly Father, and this we do constantly.

Let us join Jesus in despising our sins of racism, classism, and hatred. Though all be children of Adam, we concoct the most insignificant reasons to dishonor those equally made in the image of God. God abhors our value judgments based upon ethnicity, sex, nationality, region, class, language, age, denomination, party, or color. We know this. We have learned this, but still we all find ourselves to be discriminatory. Sadly, the Spirit of Cain is found in all of us as we hate and harm certain brothers and sisters. Let’s hate this more and more every day. Perhaps, if we had done so earlier, we might have avoided a portion of our current chaos.

Let us join Jesus in despising our sinful abuse. Our land is filled with parents harming children, men abusing women, husbands dominating wives, elders sacrificing members, employers using and abusing employees, the rich scalping the poor, the strong running over the weak, nationals loathing foreigners, legislatures harming citizens, officers murdering suspects, thieves pillaging merchants, vandals tagging cities, and anarchists burning cities. Sometimes it is hidden, sometimes it is made manifest, but thugs abound in all our homes, churches, capitals, and city-centers. Red and yellow, black and white, we are all thugs in Jesus sight.

Let us join Jesus in despising our sins of apathy. Many of us have been “just fine” until the chaos affected us. We were somewhat unconcerned with the plight of others until it entered our back yards and messed up our happy summer. We are those who have been granted positions, power, possessions, and privileges, but we have done very little to help our neighbors in distress. Sadly, we are too much like the pious men filled with indifference in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus sees us. He sees our selfish focus. He sees our passive apathy. He sees our indifference, and he hates this. Do we?

Friends, join me in repentance.

Unfathomable Grace

photo-1583611743033-e0bc72ce6297As “thugs” in the sight of Jesus, let us remember the cross. It was there that the Father’s righteous indignation was poured out upon the Sacrificial One. Jesus Christ took upon himself the curse of sin that he might grace anyone and everyone who repents. Undeserved mercy and unfathomable grace is offered to the utterly criminal. Despite what any of us deserve; despite the manner of our transgressions; despite the damage we have done to people, families, neighbors, and institutions, God offers salvation to men and women guilty of the most vile of sins. Heaven is already populated by former thugs. There can be found:

  • Abraham, who negotiated Sarah into another man’s harem.
  • Joseph’s brothers, who sold him into slavery.
  • Judah’s son, who used and abused Tamar.
  • Judah who executed the law with hypocritical partiality.
  • Samson, who burned the fields of Philistine farmers.
  • David, who used his executive power to murder Uriah.
  • Ministers, who looked the other way during the unjust trial of Jesus.
  • Saul, who led in mob-justice against Christians.
  • Elders, who allowed ethnic discrimination in the early church.

And the good news is, heaven is not yet full. There is plenty of room for thugs guilty of idolatry, racism, classism, abuse, indifference, vengeance, vandalism, and murder. There is room for sinners of every cult and clan.

Therefore, let us steward well this dark time in American history, and let us shine forth the light of the Gospel. Let us hear again of Christ unfathomable grace to us, and let us share the wealth. Let us reach across town and the political aisle, and let us offer Christ’s mercy, grace, and love one to another. Let us be slow to anger. Let us be patient and longsuffering. Let us put away the spirit of vengeance. Instead, today, let us be like alien missionaries in a world that is not our home. Let us prefer mercy over justice. Soon, this entire “American experiment” will be other. Soon, there will be a new world order when Jesus Christ comes again. The most important thing is not getting back our health, wealth, and prosperity, but making disciples of the King of Kings. Christian’s let’s not waste this opportunity. Let politics be politics, but let the church be the church. Jesus Christ is still messing up our idols and calling sinners to repentance. He is still populating his kingdom with thugs. Let’s glory in and participate in that which he is doing.

Fair Justice

Finally, let us encourage righteousness and justice.

Remember Jesus’ response to sin as expressed in the Old Testament. There we read how he curses all people and his entire planet. He creates hell for the devil, his angels, and his worshipers. Jesus burns down Sodom, plagues Egypt, annihilates pagan nations, and destroys Israel. He isn’t playing games as he encourages the nations to obey his good law.

Consider what we know of Jesus executive posture as expressed throughout his New Testament scriptures. With righteous indignation, Jesus is coming again to separate the repentant from the unrepentant. He is promising to judge, condemn, and sentence those who not found in Christ. They are destined to be enter into eternal darkness as a just consequence of their thuggery. What a glorious day that will be when Jesus comes to make all things right. Then, the governmental beauty we long for will be realized as the Prince of Peace is personally on the scene.

Well, until them, let us pray that “Christ’s kingdom may come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and let us remember that Jesus is both merciful and just. As such, he appoints certain individuals and institutions to safeguard peace in his name. Therefore, let us pray for and encourage our governmental leaders to be faithful, bold, loving, impartial, just, and protective in the posts given them by the King of Kings. Good leaders are not to sit idly by while evil manifests itself. This is not wise; it is not loving; it is not gracious; it is not good worship. Oh friends, let us pray that our governmental officials might be instruments of mercy and justice for the glory and honor of the Lord and the good of all in the neighborhood.



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