ISSUES OF FAITH: Do something for your country — pray

“DO SOMETHING! DO something!” Such was the cry of several protesters following the recent mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso.

They wanted more than a polite response from politicians of “thoughts and prayers.”

They wanted action. “Do something!”

I sympathize with their frustration and anger. I’ve never lost a child or grandchild to such senseless murder, but I’m sure I would also be enraged and want action.

On a much, much lesser scale, I’ve said, “Do something!” more than once in my life.

I’m a parent. And “Do something!” has been directed to me more than once.

I’m married. I’m a pastor.

Nevertheless, I have three concerns about the current cry, “Do something!”

First, “Do something!” is a cry for action, but it isn’t a strategy.

Doing something isn’t helpful if it means doing something wrong.

Doing something isn’t helpful if it means doing something irrelevant.

Doing something might even be the worst thing that can be done.

Moses took too long coming down from the mountain, so the crowd cried out to Aaron to do something. And he did. He gathered their gold and made them a golden calf to worship (Exodus 32). Doing something didn’t help; it made matters worse.

Second, the cry to “Do something!” is always directed toward someone else, be it presidents, politicians, children or spouses.

God has commanded everyone to do or not do 10 very specific things. Instead of demanding others to do something, we should all begin by doing the things God commanded us to do.

Adhering to these Ten Commandments would eliminate our current woes. Do something? Do these.

Jesus simplified the do something list.

When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37, 38).

Do this.

And then Jesus quickly added a second, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Verse 39).

Do this, too.

Third, instead of just placing the burden of responsibility on presidents and politicians to “Do something!” we also need to assume responsibility for doing something the Bible commands us to do for our leaders.

The Apostle Paul writes, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Could it be that our lack of peace and the profuseness of violence in our country are in direct proportion to our lack of prayer for our leaders?

Before crying out to them to “Do something!” we need to do something ourselves. Pray for them.

Yes, I’ve heard people say, “We don’t want your thoughts and prayers, we want action!”

I hear you. But please hear me — prayer really is action, and the God to whom we pray promises to respond with action.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Does our land need healing? Yes. Do something!

God has given us a strategy, and his promise to respond.

Humbly pray. Seek his face. Repent. Then he will hear. Then he will forgive. Then he will heal the land. Then he, God, will do something.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Greg Reynolds is pastor of Joyce Bible Church. His email is jbc@joycebiblechurch.org.

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