Let's talk about vision. All of us see through a glass darkly (see 1 Corinthians 13:12) this side of heaven. Things are indistinct, without great clarity under the sun. The world is broken and so is the possibility of our seeing everything clearly. Then, just as well, being self-absorbed from birth, there's this myopia in human vision that distorts things our way. So, we've got this vision problem no matter.
For many humans vision is like looking through the bottom of a Coca Cola bottle, pictured above stage left (this one is from Abbeville, SC). They must filter their sight through layers and layers of sub-strata lenses in order to see just about anything. The lens layers include opinions, preferences, biases, prejudices, personality, likes, dislikes, tastes, strengths, education, experience, human nature, family of origin, surroundings, and just quirks that are arrayed to define how we must perceive things. Good grief! No wonder so many people have a hard time even seeing the obvious. Their sight is filtered through too many lenses.
Labeling my layers is interesting too---southern born and bred, baby boomer, Baptist since nine months before I was born, descendant of Confederate dead, lint-head family heritage, college educated parents, oldest child, schooled in a segregated world, Citadel graduate, banker, parents married for life, husband, parent, hospital administrator, frustrated golfer, seminary student, pastor, graduate degrees, retired boomer---all in the nerve network of my inner optical system. If they were the primary optical scanners I'd be groping to comprehend what's happening around me too.
Ah, yes. But, something more profound and life-defining overlays them all. You see, I am a Christ follower. The primary filter through which I attempt to view every particle of life is Holy Scripture. In the language of the culture it is a biblical worldview, the way I personally interpret everything. And, the Bible isn't cloudy or blurred or opaque. It is clear, like the lens pictured above stage right. This means that all those other life influenced vision components are secondary to the optics of having what Jesus called eyes to see.
The great temptation on big news days is to lose the biblical lenses in the avalanche of world opinion. Suddenly, in a rush of emotion, one or many of those other lenses take precedence and define what we say and do. How easy it would be to lay aside the clear teaching of Scripture in inflamed moments and select more fitting goggles in which to ride the popular wave. But, that means compromising the faith. And, that won't do. So, what's the deal right now---
1. The murder of nine people, regardless of the motivation, is evil. Murder is a
hate crime no matter the circumstances.
Read Exodus 20:13, and 1 John 3:15
2. Forgiveness of the murderer is the right heart and spirit of the victims families.
Read Matthew 6:14-15
3. The bigots, baiters, and other hustlers who seek to profit from this horror
are evil too.
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:6; also Matthew 10: 16
4. The Supreme Court of the United States ruling on the Affordable Care Act was
without judicial precedent, violated states rights, and moved against the
original intent of the United States Constitution. It therefore was evil as well.
Read Romans 13: 1-7. The ultimate governing authority in the United States is
the Constitution of the United States. We should all obey it.
5. The Supreme Court of the United States ruling on same-sex marriage is evil
because a body of human origin has re-defined what God created and
ordained. Scripture is clear about gender identity, human sexuality, and what
constitutes the covenant of marriage.
Read Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:15-32
Many of us appear clueless about the diversity of opinion that exits on these topics and the events of the last two week. It's because Americans have a vision problem. To me it's ironic that the fastest growing religious preference in the American population is the "nones", people with no religious preference. When t he main-stream looks for vision, leadership, wisdom, moral clarity, judgment, political unity, common decency, or just a little kindness, there is none. It's spiritual bankruptcy.
Do I see things with absolute clarity and certainty? I wish I did. You know, we have this treasure in jars of clay so the glory would be of God an not of us (see 2 Corinthians 4:7). None of us can see with absolute perfection. But, there is clarity as he reveals to us what he wants of us.
"...the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints" Colossians 1:26, ESV
"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what
God has prepared for those who love him---these things God has revealed to
us through the Spirit"
1 Corinthians 2:9-10, ESV
And the lens of Scripture is totally clear.
For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.