And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. — Ezekiel 36:26
I participate in a weekly internet group at Christianbody.net called, “Monday Night Alive.” We meet for an hour to discuss issues that affect the church and our country and possible solutions. Our last subject was, “Answers For America.” Now I can assure you our group doesn’t have all the answers for America—but we may have some.
We all have just gone through a very contentious election, on top of a continuing pandemic crisis that has not only brought grief to victims and their families but also to survivors in so many ways like unemployment, family friction, kids missing out on quality education, lockdowns, church closings, etc. America is undergoing a profound social upheaval as well. And so is the church. What’s the answer?
Perhaps we can learn from the prophet Ezekiel who told a rebellious Israel it was going to take a new heart as He returned them to their land—a heart of compassion. The old one was beyond repair, “stony and stubborn.” But he didn’t stop there. He also said, “a new spirit” was needed, as well. In other words, God was going to do a total transformation. Is that what America needs? Is that what the church needs? Perhaps these recent examples will help answer that question—for the church anyway.
A well-known ministry leader died recently. He was a very popular Christian apologist and millions of people all over the world profited from his writings and appearances for over 40 years. I was one of them. Thousands were saved and became effective witnesses for the Gospel as a result of his teachings. He was the real deal—until after he died and his private life was exposed. It was ugly. Unfortunately, it was true. It was hard to take but so always is the way of sinful man (Romans 3:23). My hope was that he got right with God before he died of a rare cancer of the spine. I withheld judgement but that wasn’t enough for critics who began to pile on the guy after his death with article after article about his misdeeds (in detail). One well-known Christian magazine wrote three articles to make sure we all knew the full extent of his travesties.
The second example was just as intense but it came from a different direction. Another well-known ministry leader made it a point to publicly rail on a mission that was recently responsible for the release of 1600 slaves—mostly sex— in the Sudan. They achieved their release by offering a bribe to their captors of vaccine for their cattle. It was accepted and all the captives were released, although not without apparent emotional and physical scars. About offering bribes, the critic said, “that never works in the long run because it just emboldens more kidnappings and makes matters worse.” That may be true—but what about the 1600 precious souls who went free and their families?
Please God, give us a new heart like Your heart—a heart of compassion for those around us. Give us the same heart we see on the Cross when You died for us (Luke 23:34). Oh, how badly we need it in the church and in America. — Maranatha!
To help us walk closer with God and to know Him better