Not of This World

Not of this world

I am reminded that we are not of this world more and more each day.

“But we are citizens of heaven. And we can hardly wait for a Savior from there. He is the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20 NIRV

Today, I did a double-take when I read a headline that Facebook (META) was temporarily lifting its ban on hate speech and calls for violence. Of course, it is only when targeted at the Russian invaders committing war acts in Ukraine.

But it got me thinking. When is it okay to participate in “hate speech” or “calls for violence”? I hope we can all agree that the answer is never. When we move the line of what is acceptable morally we lose the right to be gatekeepers of morality.

Before I go any further let me be crystal clear in saying that what Vladimir Putin is doing is pure evil.

I have Christian God-fearing friends in Ukraine. They are huddled in their basement signing praise songs to God as they listen to bombs and gunfire outside. They struggle to know if their scarce sources of food will run out in the coming days. My heart breaks for them!

I have Christian God-fearing friends from Russia. To the right is a picture of my daughter, Zoe, and her friend (I’ve blurred her face for her protection) at a Joni & Friends Family Camp that we participated in a few years ago. Her friend and family are from Russia. Her friend has Down Syndrome. So now not only do they have to fear discrimination because their daughter has Down Syndrome but now they all have to fear discrimination because they are Russian. My heart breaks for them!

Let’s be clear. Not all Russians are evil. The actions of Vladimir Putin do not make an entire people group evil. All or nothing thinking is always faulty.

And even if a social media platform temporarily allows for “hate speech” and “calls for violence” do not think for a moment that it will not bleed over into other sectors of life. You don’t have to look too far back into our history to see how this played out. Concentration camps were created in America during World War 2. Japanese Americans were placed in these concentration camps in America less than 100 years ago based purely upon their race. This was wrong.

History is cyclical. If we fail to learn from the mistakes, history will repeat itself and it will be branded as patriotic. I am calling upon you today is to stand up against “hate speech” and “calls for violence” of any kind. Stand in the gap for citizens of Ukraine and pray for them. Stand in the gap for Russians and pray for them. Pray for Vladimir Putin. Was Jesus not clear about praying for our enemies? (Matthew 5:44)

Remember that we are not citizens of this world (Philippians 3:20). We are all citizens of heaven if we call upon the name of the Lord. Race should not matter when we view ourselves as children of God.

Discrimination of any kind, hate speech, and calls for violence is wrong. If you have worked for very long with people with disabilities you know their stories. You know the effects of discrimination has had and continues to have on their lives. Don’t allow it to continue in any sector of life regardless of world circumstances.

You are called out of this world because you are not of this world. Do different. Be different. Because you are different.

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