These are confusing times and I confess – I am often confused by the events that continue to unfold around me and around all of us in this country. I might as well confess something else as long as I’m in confession mode. I have never liked action/thriller movies all that much. I prefer, predictably I know, the romantic comedy or drama or true life story sagas. I think the reason I don’t favor the action/thriller movies is that I can’t follow them when the shooting starts and the fighting ensues.
I can’t tell who is who. Who are the bad guys? Who are the good guys? Who is winning right now? (side note – it’s not good to ask others too many questions during the important scenes of a movie, it tends to irritate them) Isn’t that the way it is sometimes? We’re not sure who to root for. We can’t tell the bad guys from the good guys – or at least I can’t.
This has again been true for me during this past week as I watch events in many cities unfold before my eyes on the TV news. There are people packed together everywhere I look. There are signs, there are fires, there is smoke and noise and more noise. I can’t tell the protesters from the rioters. And this is important because there is a huge difference.
If I were there in the street with them, would I know who was who? Could I then tell the good guys from the bad guys? Protesters prefer peace. Rioters count on the chaos they come to cause to cover their tracks and hide their identities.
Protesters are exercising their God given, constitutional right and responsibility to peacefully assemble to confront injustice and bring about change. They have a message that needs to be heard and they want to make the world a better place for everyone.
Rioters are not exercising any of their rights because there is no right to burn property that you do not own. There is no right to steal what does not belong to you, what you did not pay for and did not earn. There is no personal right to smash windows, destroy buildings and cars, deface and vandalize public and private property. Rioters have no intention of making the world a better place or of making anything better for anyone.
But the two groups have been sharing the streets of our country this past week but not sharing the spotlight. The spotlight has been stolen by the rioters as they burn down communities, sending the message that the protesters want heard up in smoke along with citizen’s hopes and dreams of reopening businesses and living in peace.
The protesters are against injustice, the rioters are delivering injustice to us all every night by their actions. And the rioters are delivering the protesters an injustice even more long lasting, they are denying the protesters their moment to make their message heard. Their message is being silenced nightly by the noise of the conflict.
In the noise and confusion of the streets it is hard to tell who is who. Who is there to help and who is there to do harm? The rioters are hiding behind the cause of the protesters and then getting them blamed for the destruction left in their wake.
The criminal disguised as a peaceful protester exercising his first amendment rights reminds me of what it says in Matthew 7:15,
“Watch out for false prophets. (substitute protesters) They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”
And there is another wolf in sheep’s clothing in this mix as well. Wearing the clothing of those who serve and protect, sometimes even giving their lives in the service of those they are protecting, this wolf was revealed when he took a life instead of saving one.
Often, the wolf among the sheep is discovered only after it is too late to save the sheep. So you can see why I am confused and having trouble telling the bad guys from the good guys, can’t you, dear readers? It is especially difficult when the bad guys are dressed up in the good guys’ uniforms. Some are disguised as protectors and some as protesters but they turn out to be the bad guys in the end.
And it seems like I am always surprised, I didn’t see it coming. Or maybe I just want to believe the best about people. Either way, I think we are all ready for peace to reign in our cities and on our streets. We are ready to come out of our houses and to be together, but this is not the way we wanted mass gatherings to take place once again. A concert or a baseball game would have been a lot more fun and a lot less dangerous than these daily/nightly mass gatherings of people.
I wish I could separate the protesters from the pretenders. That is necessary for justice to take place. And that’s the point of these protests – justice – equal justice for everyone. That’s what we all want for ourselves and for others. But like me, sometimes we can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys. Human justice falls far short of true justice.
But there is One who judges justly and He will have the final say. And He will make all things right in the end. We are just not there yet. But there will come a day, there will come a time, when justice will reign down from heaven.
“Say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns.’ The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity. . . . they will sing before the Lord, for He comes, He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His truth.” (Psalm 96:10 & 13)
“The Lord reigns forever; He has established His throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; He will govern the peoples with justice. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:7-10)
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’ . . . Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed’ ” (Matthew 25:31-34 & 41)
See, God has that perspective, that vision that I don’t have and will never have. He can tell the sheep from the goats. He can tell the good guys from the bad guys because He has perfect vision. He never makes a mistake. He sees it all.
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)
Peter referred to God as “Him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)
Colossians 3:25 assures us that, “Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
That’s what makes God the perfect judge, His perspective is complete, His vision is perfect, missing nothing, and He has all wisdom and all knowledge. He is omniscient. And He is impartial, showing no favoritism.
“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.'” (Acts 10:34)
I have the hope of justice for all, because my Heavenly Father is a God of justice for all, who will make all things right in His perfect timing. Until then, I will wait in hope while working for justice here on earth until He comes again to right every wrong Himself, in person.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ ” (Revelation 21:4-5)
“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create,” (Isaiah 65:17-18)
holding onto hope, praying for peace,
sincerely, Grace Day