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Flashpoint: Ferguson, Missouri

Jesus prophesied, “Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). Are we seeing that in the news—and in our own lives?

Flashpoint: Ferguson, Missouri

Police in riot gear use tear gas to clear the street in front of the Ferguson Police Department after the announcement of the grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

In the aftermath of the decision by the grand jury that officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the death of Michael Brown, how much love was being expressed in Ferguson? Along West Florissant Avenue, businesses were being looted, buildings were being burned to the ground, and rocks were being thrown at reporters.

A banner proclaiming “Season’s Greetings” was being engulfed with smoke, tear gas and the sounds of gunfire. In a season when “peace, goodwill toward men” is often touted, people were aggressively cursing the police and stealing from others.

There were calls for nonviolence from government leaders—all the way up to President Obama—but to no avail. There was little love being expressed toward fellow man. And things will get worse and worse because of sin—which is the breaking of God’s laws. So, what are we to do?

It doesn’t matter whether we are older or younger, male or female, black or white, Asian or Hispanic, conservative or liberal—we all need to repent!A message for all

The apostle Peter succinctly says it all: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

This message is for every human. It doesn’t matter whether we are older or younger, male or female, black or white, Asian or Hispanic, conservative or liberal—we all need to repent!

Over the millennia, humanity has tried getting along with others. Yet wars and violence have continued to erupt. God has sent messengers (prophets) with warnings, but humanity has consistently rejected any call to repent (change).

The only One who can bring about real peace is Jesus Christ. He is prophesied to return to this earth and will establish His reign as King of Kings. And there will be peace! There will be no more looting or stealing, and there will be no more killing (see Isaiah 2:1-4).

There will also be proper “judgment and justice” (Isaiah 9:7) in His Kingdom.

How do we repent?

First, we must acknowledge error. We must admit that we don’t know how to live at peace apart from God’s directions. Thousands of years of human experience have proven that point. We have to admit we need God! We need His ways and laws that make for peace.

Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.”

This means that we need to start changing our lives now. Do we steal? We may be at home, watching the news unfold in Ferguson, and condemn the looting—but do we steal?

Do we honestly report our wages for income tax purposes? Do we take items home from our workplaces that are not ours? Do we shoplift? If so, we need to stop stealing!

Do we lie? Do we tell our children that there is a Santa Claus, when we know there isn’t one? Do we lie about our age to get alcohol? Do we lie in our business in order to sell an item? If so, we need to stop lying.

Do we view online pornography and think that is not adultery? Do we lust after another man’s wife? If so, we need to quit committing adultery.

Do we get into road rage—into uncontrollable anger against someone else? Do we hate our neighbor? Jesus taught that such anger is spiritually as sinful as murder (Matthew 5:21-22). If we have deep-seated anger against someone, we need to quit being angry.

In other words, do we condemn the actions of the protestors in Ferguson, but excuse our own behavior when it comes to lying, anger, stealing and committing adultery? If so, perhaps the real message from Ferguson is that we need to look inwardly to see where we personally fall short.

Examining ourselves

No doubt, the behavior of some in Ferguson is atrocious. Human history has taught that there are times when the more sinister nature of human beings comes out in violent ways. But the real message is seeing that same nature subtly show up in our own lives. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). You and I may not be looting, but are we breaking the laws of God in other ways?

Continue to pray for peace and reconciliation in Ferguson—but also pray for help to overcome these underlying problems in your life!

For further information, download our free booklet Change Your Life! It is important that we change now!

About the Author

John Foster

John Foster

John Foster grew up in the Chicago, Illinois, area and began attending the Church of God with his parents in 1958.

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