You’ll never find these 10 attitudes attain these outcomes.
- Arrogance and Caring
- Self-Indulgence and Healing
- Navel-gazing and Progress
- Nit-picking and Unity
- Stubbornness and Growth
- Selfishness and Love
- Wallowing in self-pity and Joy
- Harshness and Peacemaking
- Grudges and Grace
- Isolation and Friendship
Grace. To a lot of people, this was a new concept introduced by Jesus. It wasn’t. As he said in John 5:19, his own acts of grace and mercy were rooted in what he’d watched the Father do from the beginning. This is actually one reason so many of the Jewish believers who followed Jesus knew he was from God. God was a source of grace, and Jesus was a source of grace, so Jesus’ claims to be from God rang true to them. (<–Hey…there might be a parenthetical message in there)
For an example of how Israel saw the grace of YHWH in the OT, just check out this excerpt from Nehemiah:
“You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.” – Nehemiah 9:17-21, ESV
Photo by Angela Anderson-Cobb via Flickr
This story reads almost like a few of the prophets, with one notable exception: Most of the prophets’ oracles offered a glimpse of hope if they’d repent of their corruption, oppression of the poor, and violence. That hope is there, of course, even if the op-ed writer doesn’t see it.
At a time when Judah and Jerusalem were as corrupt and unjust as Detroit, this is what the Lord said to and through the prophet Isaiah:
“Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
~ Isaiah 1:16-17 (NIV)
There will be no real and lasting solutions to Detroit or America’s problems without repentance. If you really want to start a grass-roots movement that makes real change, if you really want to bring people together and see transformation happen, if you really want unity across party lines, then this is how you do it. You abandon the twin idols of Money & Politics, and turn to the only God who can really help. His way forward is love, mercy, justice and humility, not PACs and under the table Union deals. That’s how we got here. His way forward has turned history upside down before, and can do it again. In Detroit, in America, in the church, in the world.
Are you in?