We are all touched and impacted by the sordid events of our current day. What should we do? What would Jesus do? Who should we blame? Who would Jesus blame? ◊
Virtue signaling is defined as “the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue.”
We’ve certainly seen a lot of that in America these days.
Many of us are left confused and pondering the question: What should I do or How should I respond?
From public healthcare, political, economic, and racial fronts, there have been many and varied expressed views on just how we each should think, feel, act, and react in our thoughts and behaviors about hot topics like Covid-19 masks and shelter-in-place policies, political and marketplace motions and stances in an US election year, and now racial and social justice in response to a heinous crime and its horrible fallout.
In addition to the expected or projected right response to all that we’re encountering, there is also the Blame Game that seems to accompany every major event or crisis. The key questions here are:
- Who do we blame?
- Who is responsible?
- Who started it?
- Who’s inciting it?
In shedding light in how we ought to respond and who we should blame, I’ll pose a new question you may not have raised:
- Who would Jesus blame?
The Jesus Response
Actually, Jesus wouldn’t blame anyone in the way that some would like. He’s already given us a very pointed answer though in terms of justice, repentance, and spirit. Consider the case Jesus makes in 3 passages and lessons here which should give us pause before we execute any of our responses and consideration of casting blame:
1. Wheat and Weeds Grow Together – Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 – Jesus tells a parable about a man planting good seed which grew in a field, but in stealth one night an enemy sowed weeds among the wheat. When the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. When asked by the field workers whether they should pull the weeds, the man said to leave them growing lest the good wheat get pulled with the weeds. He told them that everything will get sorted out in the harvest when the good wheat will be separated from the weeds which will be destroyed. Jesus delivers a clear explanation to His disciples: The Son of Man (Jesus) is the man/farmer, good seed/wheat are the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one (Devil).
Lesson: Justice will be served eventually, and completely, by God. Not necessarily by human systems. There is clear evil and wrongdoing allowed to proceed and even prosper in the midst of what is good, healthy and beautiful. God sees it; He loves what he plants and knows good fruit and what’s occurring. Evil feels free to survive and thrive but is destined for destruction. Good seed perseveres and is tested and discerned by the fruit it produces. God has the last word. “Whoever has ears should listen.” (Matthew 13:43)
2. Brutality, Calamity, and Repentance – Luke 13:1-5 – A particular sequence of tragedies occurs in Jesus’ day and He is asked to comment on them and answer the question of God’s offense and punishment. A group of people were killed by Pilates’ soldiers while worshiping in the Temple; and then a tower on the other end of Jerusalem accidentally collapsed and killed 18 people. Jesus is asked, Who sinned as the worse offenders in God’s eyes? He answers that neither were more guilty, and then adds “But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Lesson: This is a direct question about evil and tragedy and blame and guilt. In assigning no guilt, Jesus sidesteps the implied question of why do bad things happen to good people, or even the common presumption that sin and calamity have a connection; that tragedy is deserved and somehow tied to guilt. Instead, Jesus shifts the focus and goes right to the point of all of our need for repentance or else all of us too will die. How strange – yet so really Christ-like to get right to the truth and heart of things. The blame is on our inborn sin-nature from original sin. It’s our choice – we’re all going to die anyway. Jesus, God-Man, knew this and died as an atonement for a fallen world – all humanity: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
3. Foolish Inputs vs. Discerning Truth – Matthew 16:1-20 – Jesus was asked by authorities and leaders for a “sign of the times.” He scolds them with the admonition that “an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” He later warned His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” He had to clarify that he was not talking about physical leaven of bread, but of the teaching of deceiving teachers and leaders. Then later, Jesus point blanks asks His men, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answers back, “Blessed are you, Simon Peter! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
Lesson: We are all susceptible to the wayward, foolish, and even deceptive teaching of people in authority. We should beware of foolish inputs or information sources of so-called truth, signs, analyses, and interpretations. Particularly when the Source of real Truth is available to all of us. Discerning truth was spiritually given to Simon Peter through the Holy Spirit. Human thinking and teaching are okay and can even be good; Holy Spirit-led thinking and teaching is on a whole other dimension.
We are all touched and impacted by the sordid events of our current day. Some may rush to point fingers or harsh words of speculative blame or even cast stones of destruction, or worse, in self-righteous anger. But may the wise and discerning consider God’s hand and ways of true social justice, our own substantial need for repentance, and a life-transforming quest for the resident Spirit of God within us to guide and direct a life of wisdom, resolve, and impact. Amen.
Do you think like Man or Jesus?
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. – Matthew 3:1-2