Do you remember?It's a question that gets asked around this time every year. Do you remember where you were when "it" happened. Yes, I remember. I think we all do. I remember exactly where I was, I remember the thoughts running through my mind, I remember the subsequent questions and emotions that followed.
My grandmother was supposed to be on a flight though DC that day. I didn't know the time of the flight, I just knew I desperately wanted to hear her voice. I watched the screen in my 8th grade math class about an hour after it had all occurred. I saw tears in the eyes of my teachers. I started to wonder what this would mean for our nation. What would happen to us? Does this mean war? Does it mean war on American soil? Was life as normal about to change?
The days following this tragedy were heart breaking and yet there was something beautiful that occurred. A nation united. A nation came together and said, "I may not believe the way you do, I may not like that about you, we may have never gotten along, but for this cause, for this one cause, I will join hands with you, because no one attacks our family and gets away with it". Every. Single. Time "I'm proud to be an American" was sung my little teenage eyes filled with tears.
Life as normal did change forever that day, unfortunately for our nation the things that should have stuck, just sort of flew by.
I believe there was something in the heart of those days that we are missing now. It's running rampant in our nation and it's killing us from the inside out. We don't need another attack to kill us, we're killing each other. A spirit of division is ripping through our nation and though it shouldn't be, but often is, the church takes on the spirit of our environment and now our churches are battling division and strife as well.
As I’ve been interceding for our nation, God showed me something this week that I’ve heard said before, but really hit me in my core this week. Sadly the church has often brought in the atmosphere of society rather than using our authority and changing atmospheres and society. Trends will hit our culture and then within some time we see it begin to infiltrate the church as well, rather it’s righteous or demonic. In our country right now is a massive spirit of division, deception, and jealousy. People are dividing on behalf of race, profession, and other superficial and honestly ridiculous reasons. People are intentionally deceiving others for selfish gain that ultimately hurts the masses. There’s been a complete denial of the reality that humans are humans deserving of respect and honor regardless of perceived “differences’. We’re humans, we’re Americans. Isn't that enough to humbly serve each other?
God spoke to me that what we’re seeing in the church now is influenced by the same demonic powers at work in our society. As society has gone, so have some parts of the body of Christ. There is no reason for there to be such division in the church over such secondary issues and yet there’s no need for there to be such compromise on foundational ones. There is no good excuse for the offense of believers. There’s never a reason to be jealous of other people, ministers, or ministries. There’s no reason that the Church, the Bride of Christ, should willingly and openly neglect His very prayer for us. That we would love each other AS HE LOVES US and that we would be ONE. God had me reading through this prayer almost daily starting in the spring and He spoke to me one day, "Jessika you can either be an ANSWER to my prayer or you can be part of the reason why I prayed it". I can choose love and unity or I can choose offense and division. What's your choice?
It’s time that we rise up. We are ONE BODY, one Spirit. We are united. I may not agree with you, but I can love you, even get along with you, even join you in transforming our city and nation with the Gospel. (I understand there are some fundamental Truths that MUST NOT be compromised EVER but you can stand for Truth and choose humility and love at the same time) I will not choose offense, no matter what you’ve done to me because He loves you and He showed me what love looks like when He laid down His life for the very ones who mocked Him, beat Him, and betrayed Him. I won’t slander you or turn my back on you, in fact I’ll love you so much that I’ll pray for you, encourage you, and bless you. I won’t be jealous of you because YOUR BREAKTHROUGH IS MY BREAKTHROUGH. In the Kingdom there aren’t sides to pick from, there isn’t wisdom apart from the cross, there isn’t alignment separate from other body parts, Kingdom loyalty will never ask you to reject one person in order to show loyalty to another. The Cross is our model, not society, not emotions, not ministry school, not some leader, not even family tradition. Look at others through the blood of Jesus and none of this would be an issue. Intercede friends. Jesus promised the gates of hell will not prevail against His church!
What would happen if regardless of race, denomination, religion, income, job title, etc. We made the choice as a nation today to say, "your debt is cancelled". I free you of the offense, hurt, pain, disappointment, you caused and instead I choose love. I choose to love you in spite of what you've done, I love you even though I don't agree, I will serve you even though you don't look like me, think like me or talk like me. What if we gave clean slates and looked at people through the eyes of the cross?
What if we hugged police officers instead of shot them? What if we actually tried to trust people? What if we didn't take sides? What if we were adamant about being peace makers instead of segregators? What if instead of drawing boundaries and divides to feel safe, we blew down the walls of separation and took a risk?
Now Christian friends, please don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying that we lower Biblical standards, I'm not saying we condone sin. I'm saying, "I love you in spite of your sin". I'm not saying we water down Truth, Jesus is still the only way to heaven and I will not compromise that issue, but I will say not only will I love you if you don't believe that, I'll serve you. I'll go out of my way to ensure you see the love of Christ through me.
God gave us the ability to forgive others of sin. He gave us love to believe the best. He tore down divides by healing sinners, and dying for the unbeliever. The cross is your model. The cross is your example. The cross is the Wisdom of our faith.
Right now I pray for the countless family members, friends, neighbors, and communities that were devastated by an awful tragedy. I speak comfort to your soul and peace in your heart. I pray for our nation and I pray for the body of Christ. I ask with Jesus that we would love one another as He loves us and that we would be One as they are One. Be Blessed, J. Tate If you've noticed I won't be on Facebook as much for a while in order to pay attention to some other priorities in my life, I'll get on soon to announce some awesome events coming up soon.