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Don't Make Me No Never Mind

Things are so difficult right now. As a white person in America, I feel like whatever I do or say, I will be offending someone just by being white. I am grateful for my tiny little diverse church. We are a congregation of individuals from all sorts of backgrounds, and as such we have many different views about the things that are going on in our society. I am grateful because we can still worship together, and even talk about these things together without being angry with each other over our differences, or forming groups that exclude each other.

I believe that this is because at the heart of it all, we are all bound together by the love of Jesus. Whatever else we are, we are Christians first, and that means that we are brothers and sisters, and even one body.

As Christians, we cannot afford to be divided by artificial differences, and we can't afford to keep silent. It is so very tempting to retreat into our shells and wait out the storm. It would even be easy, because we would just be following "social distancing" rules. We are supposed to be following the orders of our leaders. Things are dangerous out there. We need to be safe. It's peaceful here in tiny little Dover Plains. Let those big cities deal with their own problems.

But we can't "never mind" right now. Our world is in pain, and we have the cure. It is wrong to keep it to ourselves.

I imagine you've heard the story of Jonah and the Whale. It's a popular children's Bible story.

Jonah 1:1-3 - The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai:  “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

If you don't know the rest of the story, you can read it here. To sum up, Jonah didn't get away after all. He was thrown into the sea, swallowed by a fish, and coughed back up right on the shore of Nineveh, where he didn't want to go. But isn't Jonah just like us sometimes? Not the fish part, but the part where we don't want to deal with the wickedness. The part where we're just trying to get along. The part where we're more worried about our own lives than the millions of people who are dying without the hope of Heaven or the love of Jesus Christ.

The Spirit of God compels us to preach against sin. And quenching that Spirit is in itself a sin. It is going against what God has told us to do. The good news is that "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9). This goes for everyone. If we confess our sin of running away from God's direction, we will be forgiven and purified and equipped to follow Him. If those we preach to choose to follow Christ, they have the same exact opportunity to turn from sin and be forgiven. It doesn't matter what any of us have done in the past. We can all be a new creation, and change our name from "Sinner" to "Saint."

In this strange time of trying to figure out who "matters," we have the answer: Christ matters. Salvation matters. And each and every human being on this planet matters to God. They need to matter to us. We can't afford to "Never Mind" any more.


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