“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?”
These ancient words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 1:12 are on my mind this morning. He desperately wanted his generation to deeply consider the destruction of their homeland due to their sin. He did not want them to push it out of their minds. He did not want them to be distracted from it. He wanted them to stare at the ramifications of their ways. He wanted the massive upheaveal occurring around them to provoke them to think deeply on where they presently stood with God. Jeremiah had good reason to be forever dubbed the weeping prophet: God’s people had forgotten Him.
Today, Jeremiah’s words should impact Christians. While those who name the name of Jesus Christ blindly and boldly give their focus, their energy, their words, their passions and their priorities to the passing elements of our fallen culture, the voice of God directs our gaze upon the cross, the empty tomb and the throne of Heaven and He asks,
“Is it nothing to you who pass by?”
Along with Jeremiah, we should be cut to the core about how the components of the Kingdom are being shoved to the back burner by the American Christian as we boast or rail against about the paltry issues of American politics. Those who would never be bold about the Gospel are doubly bold about their chosen Presidential candidate. Christians who will never get in the face of demons in spiritual warfare will defend their rights to get in the faces of their own spiritual brothers and sisters about race, politics, class warfare and perceived rights and entitlements. People who are called to gather in consecrated worship and prayer flippantly dismiss those priorities to attend leftist protests and right-wing war-cry rallies. Those who are never outraged at the apathy of the Church toward the millions of not-yet-saved-souls are beating war drums about their own perceived wounds, demanding repayment for wrongs done against them, or scrambling in panic to ensure that current power structures are not threatened. Could there be anything more anti-Gospel than promoting a message of “I am owed!”? Then there is the undeniable tuning out of the pleading voices who simply want legitimate injustices to be addressed. The majority’s indifference fuels the outrage of those who are marginalized. Some in the Church seem to conveniently ignore that there are innumerable statements in scripture about God being committed to justice. He actually expects those things to be important to us; or is it nothing to those who pass by His ancient words?
You see, these are all inconvenient truths that are being ignored by whites, blacks, liberals and conservatives. The whole conversation (if we can call it a conversation) is corrupt. The ways of Jesus are demoted or dismissed in our day to day dealings. We are distracted and determined in the American Church. We want what we want and – by God – we know that we are right and He is on our side. We have decided that this is our time and nobody is going to move us off of our mark. We have taken the Son of God and placed Him in the middle of our issues and hijacked His name, cherry-picked his words and myopically presumed to make Him the spokesman for our blind cause. In the final analysis, we have made Jesus one of us and our tribe. We are most definitely in the season of the last days wherein people will be “lovers of their own selves.”
And, because of this, Jesus is becoming nothing to those who pass by.
With every social media post, with every private conversation wherein we curse people with whom we disagree, with every harbored hatred in our hearts, with every smug satisfaction when the other side of the aisle gets punched in the face…we fail to remember that the omniscient God of Heaven is notating every thought and word and deed. And Jesus has promised that each of us will give a personal account for all of it. Seriously, you are going to give an answer as to why you let Jesus be reduced in the expression of who you are and why you raised up a golden calf of some other thing with which you identify. Is it nothing to you as you pass by what I’m offering here?
Forgive us, Jesus, for merely glancing at your holy worth, your immeasurable sacrifice, your bloody cross, your glorious throne and your sovereign commands. Forgive us for failing there and for succeeding at lesser loyalties which endeavor to make us feel great about…us and the tribe with whom we have aligned. Forgive us for sacrificing our brotherhood and sisterhood that you paid for with your own blood. Forgive us for replacing those relationships with political, racial and cultural alliances – affiliating more closely with those who are not Yours than we do with other believers.
Savior, please reverse our focus today. Send storms of nature and storms of circumstance. Bend us and/or break us. Shut our mouths and crush our pride. I do not ask this for those outside of your covenant. This is my prayer for your own distracted, deceived and straying people. I’m asking You to employ all necessary means of purifying your bride from her pride. I know that You will do this because she belongs solely to You. She cannot be the lover of anyone else.