America Gone Wild!

What the heck is going on! Some may call me “late to the party”, but I don’t care. There are cataclysmic issues that need to be addressed in America - not just in hearings and investigations, but in action. Let me warn you, you can’t pick and choose. To stand on the side of righteousness and justice means to stand in the midst of mockers. Justice must roll like a river!

On Tuesday a black man, Alton Sterling, was shot as he wrestled with two white police officers. On Wednesday, Philando Castile, also black, was shot by police during an apparent traffic stop for a broken tail light. We have one presidential candidate spewing arrogant, bigoted beliefs. We have the other outrightly deceiving and lying to the public, unequivocally confirmed by Thursday’s testimony of FBI director, Mr. James Comey. All actions are undeniable and unjustifiable. To do either is outright foolishness.

If you thought we’d made progress, you haven’t been paying attention.

America just celebrated it's Independence. But we're further away from freedom than we've ever been before! We're still in bondage, and it shows! America gone wild!

I’m not here to determine what actually happened in the shootings - there’s investigation needed - although on face value both seem patently heinous and vile (Two Supreme Court decisions specifically delineate when “deadly force” can be used cf. Tennessee V. Garner and Graham V. Connor). I’m not writing to posture towards one presidential candidate or another - both have massive character flaws, are insulated from the average American’s way of life and in some instances seem grossly part of the elite establishment. I do have this to say, America has gone wild, it’s out of control! It’s shameful! Disgusting! Have you had enough yet?

I know I’m dating myself with the “gone wild” tag. Decades ago there was a rash of horrid videos documenting the outrageous behavior of ladies. Well, not ladies, young college girls in debauchery. It grew like a plague. Add a noun to the phrase and you’ll have the genre, “Students Gone Wild”, “Dogs Gone Wild”, “Toddlers Gone Wild”. Today, I sit in disbelief at the culture we live in. America is magnificently fractured (see, The Trump Thing). Racism is alive and well. Social anger and violence is escalating. Authority seems to be injudiciously wielded. America has gone wild, and I think it’s only going to get worse. Unless…

We can’t escape fact that the symptoms we’re seeing are due to longstanding, deep wounds. Inflicted and embraced for decades, many haven’t sought healing and even more haven’t given up the slinging of toxic arrows. Pierced hearts have grown rancid as brother rises up against brother, hell bent on domination. It’s a disease that spans beyond recorded history.

The Bible is magnificently applicable for today. The letter to the Galatians was written to early Jesus followers - people who were in the process of being transformed, but weren’t fully, yet.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Galatians 5:13-14

Apparently baby Christians in Galatia hadn’t fully gotten this thing called “following Jesus”. Still operating out of their sinful, selfish flesh, they were en route to destroying each other. Sound familiar? It’s not hopeless! We can live up to a different standard, empowered by the Holy Spirit, if we yield to the Spirit.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:16-21

Not only will they not inherit the Kingdom, but they’ll destroy each other! I’m not saying, “Why can’t we all just get along?” That’s inane. We need to be directed by Someone outside of ourselves, with a focus and goal that’s beyond fueling and feeding our flesh. We need a supernatural drive that abolishes the idea that one man can rule another - whether by force or legislation - that decimates the justification of name calling, bigotry, racism, lying, deception and everything listed in the passage above.

America has gone wild! It’s acting like a drowning person flailing dangerously. Our illness is of the heart - a dark soul in need of redemption. We will not make any progress until we realize that true healing can only take place through Jesus. I’m not advocating a religion, but a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It’s not simply about living our lives quietly because the heart is deceitful above all else, no one can understand it. Justice needs to be screamed from the roof tops and action taken. It’s time!

As I awoke this morning to finish this piece, my bleary eyes read of more horror screaming through morning headlines:

  • 5 Officers killed in Dallas, worst attack on police since 9/11
  • K-9 Units sweep for possible bombs
  • State Department reopens Clinton probe
  • Arrest made in homeless killings
  • Snipers open fire on Dallas police, Killing at least 5

I leave you with this challenge: either walk in the Spirit of God and be freed from this redundant hell or continue to live by the flesh and be consumed.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:22-26