Samuel’s Lesson

God’s Solution to the Hatred in our Nation!

HATE

Yesterday, the memorial service for the five Dallas police officers took place.  They were gunned down for no other reason except they were police officers.  For Micah Johnson, the uniforms were the overt evidence that these men needed to be shot.  We are seeing attacks on our police officers as if a judgment has been made that all police officers are evil, yet the only thing these officers share in common is a uniform and a badge.  But to a large portion of our nation, these two common characteristics are proof that these are racists human beings that should be ambushed and executed.

And this is the state of our nation.  Individual groups have decided their own set of morality. Then they judge all other groups by their own definition of what is right and what is wrong.  I was shocked recently to hear someone on one of the many talk shows saying that all police should be abolished.  With all due respect, I find no logic in this statement.  How many people with criminal intent heard that and sat up in their chair and said, “Heck yeah! I’ll vote for that!”  To call for the abolishment of police undergirds the thought that the police are evil.  This is an extremist view, but I am shocked that this view is even part of the discussion.  And now we are seeing police officers executed, ambushed, and attacked.  We have heard chants of “What do we want?  -Dead cops.  When do we want it? -Now” and “How do you spell R-A-C-I-S-T?  -N-Y-P-D.”

It may seem as if this is a new problem.  It has only been in the modern era that we have heard of groups being established based on one particular characteristic.  The primary characteristic has been different but the behavior of each group has been very similar.  Groups have organized against other groups because of primary characteristics such as gender, sexual orientation, race, income, and religion.  We wonder how bad the world has become, but this is not a modern issue.  It is a human issue.  Amazingly, the solution was developed by God in a lesson taught to the prophet Samuel so long ago.  Here it is:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (NIV)
1 Samuel 16:7

                The issue is not racism as if racism were the only problem in our culture today.  The issue is not gender, sexual orientation, or any of the other bullet points listed by these groups.  The issue stems from judging others according to human standards.  Jesus said this:

You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. (NIV)
John 8:15-16

                Jesus was letting the crowd know on this day that He does not judge according to human standards.  God does not judge by human standards.  To judge by human standards is to look at the appearance: male-female, rich-poor, black-white, republican-democrat. The Lord looks at the heart.  We should do our best to follow God’s principle of making judgments about people by their heart, not their appearance. Though we are not God and will never fully know the heart of another person, this should be our endeavor, especially as followers of Christ.  To judge someone by what we can see is a human endeavor.  As such, it is a destructive way of relating to others and it is a direct contradiction of Biblical principles.

When Samuel was sent to anoint a new king of Israel, it was the result of the first king, Saul, becoming arrogant and losing the favor of God.  Saul had been chosen because of his majestic appearance.  He looked like a leader, a king, a warrior, but he was a failure as the king of Israel.  God sent Samuel to Jesse saying one of Jesse’s sons would be anointed as the next king.  Jesse had many sons who had a mighty appearance.  The youngest, though, was a runt.  Jesse didn’t even bring him in from shepherding to meet Samuel.  In Jesse’s mind, the mere appearance of runt, David, disqualified him.  When Samuel saw Eliab, the oldest son, he too, like Saul, was a mighty man in appearance, then God stepped in and taught this long forgotten lesson.  He said to Samuel, “People look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”

Is a super-rich person evil because he is obviously rich, living in a mansion with a driver to take him here and there?  I have several uncles who would fit into the 1% group that was so demonized a few years back, but they are all good men.  That is not to say I haven’t known some rich people who were absolute jerks.  I was recently pulled over by a cop here in San Antonio.  First, let me say, I should’ve been pulled over.  I ran a red light (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone!).  I did not get a ticket and I am quite certain it is because the cop was drinking. His breath reeked of alcohol…and he was driving…and pulling people over.  I think I didn’t get a ticket because the cop knew he was under the influence.  Nevertheless, I would not hesitate even a second to call upon any police officer because though there are some bad ones, there are far more good ones.  Isn’t it like that in every group.  Let’s talk about preachers.  There are good and bad, moral, immoral, and amoral, all carrying the title of Reverend.  I do not want to be judged by the corrupt televangelists just because I share a common practice with them.

The point is simply this: anytime we judge a person by the worst behavior of others with a common characteristic, it is never going to lead to a good place.  Isn’t this logical?  There is no group of people without sin which means every group has negative forces within.  There is a bad apple in every group. Judging by human standards will always…did you hear me?  It will ALWAYS lead to the condemnation of good people eventually.  All men are not misogynists.  All white people are not racists.  All black are not members of the new Black Panthers.  All rich people are not corrupt.  All cops do not hate black people.  All women are not pro-choice.

Especially as believers, we must be careful of falling into the trap of joining a group that judges according to human standards or becoming angry with one of these groups who have judged us according to human standards.

I doubt that the world is going to suddenly consider Samuel’s lesson and change our culture.  But as Christians, we do have the responsibility of showing the way, being the light.  Let us spur one another on to NOT judge anyone by the worst behavior of all others with common characteristics.  Instead, let us look at each individual and their spirit within.  Let us NOT join in the current chaos by relegating people because of their uniform, their income, their gender, or the color of their skin.  Let us remember Samuel’s lesson and teach it far and wide with our attitude, our words, and our actions.

 

Pastor Lee is the Lead Pastor at CrossRoads Community Church in San Antonio, Texas. His message focuses on the healing power of Scripture through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the Father of three awesome sons and he is madly in love with his wife, Amy. And his favorite past time is losing golf balls in the rough while attempting to play a round of golf.

Posted in Anger, Grace, Social Commentary Tagged with: , , , , ,

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