Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Mending the Breach

“They forgot God, their Savior...
Therefore he said he would destroy them—
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him,
to turn away his wrath from destroying them.” Psalm 106:21,23.

“And I sought for anyone among them who would repair the wall and stand in the breach before me on behalf of the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath; I have returned their conduct upon their heads, says the Lord God.” Ezekiel 22:30-31

What a difference in outcomes! The Psalmist tells us Moses, by standing in the breach, averts disaster for his-and God’s-people. Ezekiel has just finished describing a thoroughly corrupt society, from royalty to priests to prophets to government officials. No breach-mender here; Jerusalem will experience the full force of God’s wrath. 
So what might standing in the breach look like today, especially considering our current political climate? Here’s a thought. People who feed off negative emotional energy-fear, anger, hatred-don’t care what side the energy comes from. Fired up protesters outside a rally are just as good as the fired up base inside the rally. Our enemies know this and are quick to exploit it; particularly on social media. Which goes a long way towards explaining why Trump is so in love with Twitter. Understand, I am not condemning protests across the board, or social media. I am saying there is a better way to do them. 
There is a growing body of research today indicating connectedness is a basic human need (see, for example, Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness; and The Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams). One common thread running through both books is the way our brains are wired for empathy and cooperation. This does not mean we need to agree with each other on everything. It does mean we need to listen to one another, really listen. It also means less time arguing on social media. I’d be willing to bet very few minds have ever been changed in any substantive way because of a Facebook post. If you absolutely must post or tweet, do so clearly and concisely, resisting the urge to label (which is the first step in the process of dehumanizing your opponent). Make your point and move on-which implies you must have a point to make in the first place. When posting or tweeting, it may be helpful to go about it as if you will actually see your (perceived) opponent face to face. Soon. Like, for example, Sunday morning in church. This is a basic, easy to remember principle. Proverbs says “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Remember Jesus’ teaching on anger (Matthew 5:21-22. In fact, this might be a good time to just go ahead and review the entire Sermon on the Mount). See also Romans 12:9-21. 
Which leads me, more or less, to my main and final point. God told Ezekiel the corruption in Jerusalem was so complete there was no one left to intercede. Matthew 5:23-24 instructs us to reconcile with whoever may have something against us before we offer our gifts at the alter. These days we may not offer gifts; we do offer prayers and intercessions which are easier and more effective-at least on our end-when they are not clouded over with anger. Or guilt. And speaking of prayer, may I be so bold as to suggest ‘Lord come to his/her/our assistance. Lord make haste to help us’. Or ‘Thy kingdom come’. 
Fear, anger and hatred need an object. Jesus has mended the breach between heaven and earth. What breach will you mend?



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