We live in a time of strong political intrigue and violence, both domestic and international. Both politics and religion share a common thread—and fault—in that within both, there appears to be certain affairs with rampant amounts of infidelity and corruption.
Does this sound a lot like today’s landscape in the world and maybe even this country? It just might. But also describes the people to whom Hosea was prophesying between the years of 750 and 740 BCE. (Hosea 1:2-10)
Hosea vehemently condemns a man named Jehu for the atrocious acts Jehu commits in the book of Second Kings. Those acts include two regicides (through the killing of some monarchs and their families), twenty beheadings, a massive and grisly eradication of a building packed with people that worshipped the deity Baal and more.
This violent landscape certainly feels quite similar to the world in which we currently live today, doesn’t it? A lot of it feels eerily similar. There are people intent on spreading violence and hatred. There is a common thread of those who are determined to get their own way and listen to their own will as opposed to that of God’s. There are people that have strayed so far from the guidance of God that they have become lost and are searching for something, anything that can give them a greater sense of their own identity and a purpose in life. As a result, they seek that purpose, that identity and that sense of meaning in extremely unhealthy and detrimental ways. These, surely, are all signs of a world that is cracking at both the foundational and surface level.
The reality is that things break.
There are many different ways objects or people can break and be broken. It can occur through accidents via clumsiness, or through intention, driven by malice, hatred, or fear.
Physically, a lamp could be smashed, a car could be wrecked, and a person could break some bones or receive some cuts or abrasions. Emotionally, one could retain the memory of being scolded, made fun of, demeaned, forgotten, unloved, left behind or simply not thought of. Sadly, even torture practices exist and are enacted on people to do what is essentially referred to as “breaking them” to get classified or top secret information in a time of war.
Facing enough of this sort of brokenness begins to wear on not only the world and others around us, but us too. Day after day we hear about it and again our hearts ache. Our minds try to reconcile how people can do such things and how this can continue to go on.
How do we stop, mend and restore all of this brokenness? Acknowledging it and realizing it is one thing. Progressing to a point where it is not as pervasive is a completely different animal.
Fixing the problem requires simply more than thinking about it. It requires action. At some point we have to say enough is enough and we need to do something about it.
I’m not talking about major or overwhelming courses of action. Rome was not built in a day, and this brokenness will not disappear overnight. The changes and actions do not always have to be that big. It might even help to start small and with the little things.
For example, does you allow unhealthy behaviors and actions to continue through passivity and not speaking up? The best example of this is a phrase I heard recently. It went something like this: “We must ask ourselves: Do we shed light or nourish the darkness?”
Meaning that by allowing hateful and hurtful actions to continue, we are nourishing the darkness. Instead, we should speak up, and shed some light on the issue or topic at hand.
Maybe we have to be (as uncomfortable as it can be) the one that has to say to our friend: “You know, how you treated that person, or what you said to that other friend of yours was hurtful and belittling. If you can, maybe you should try rewording it to get your point across, or convey that you too are hurt.” Or, perhaps we witnessed a physical altercation between two people and have to do everything we can to encourage people that we truly should take alternate actions of love and peace as opposed to resorting to violence and hate.
As Christians, we need to be the ones to shed light instead of nourishing the darkness.
Despite all of this evidence for a world that appears broken, we know who our God is and just how much God loves us.
Amidst all the desolation, all the brokenness, all the pain, the suffering, the despair and the violence, we are reminded that there is hope. There is a hope that the no matter what transgressions we may face or brokenness we encounter, God is capable of fixing. Our God is present with us, suffering and mourning right alongside us as He sees his own children nourish the darkness that resides within each of us. God desperately yearns for a world of light, love and peace; and that responsibility is not only God’s, it is ours too.
God’s love endures well beyond what we are capable of understanding and comprehending, and in that we have immense hope.