When praying for the healing of our broken bodies and forgiveness of our sins, we usually cite Isaiah 53:5 (ESV):
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
One phrase struck me this year of our turmoil – for no one is untouched: upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace.
No one knows what the truth is. We write posts, articles, and podcasts to publish our opinions, trolling, news, encouragements, or propaganda. Confusion reigns even for those who try to do their best to find out the truth.
Our peace does not lie in the facts. God does not give any person the whole truth. He gives us His truth in what soldiers know as “on a need-to-know basis.”
Our peace lies in the hands of God — the peace that passes all understanding. He’s got this. He’s got the whole wide world in His hands.
I listen to many radio sermons throughout the day and night, and it is not uncommon to hear a preacher state just how divided this nation is. Many offer biblical solutions. The ultimate biblical solution is to read and follow the four gospels of Jesus. Not only did He teach us how to treat our enemies through His example, but He was and is the standard.
Many know Martin Luther as the priest and scholar who nailed the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Castle Church door in 1517. What is not as commonly known is a pastor who hounded him until the day Thomas Münzer was executed in 1525.
A Little Backstory
After the exasperation and intervention of Luther’s spiritual advisor, Johannes von Staupitz, Luther learned the hard way of legalism over grace – Luther would confess every single thought and action that he thought was a sin to Staupitz.
After he overcame this obstacle, Luther believed in sola scriptura, or the supremacy of the Bible over the Church. He was considered a mystic: he prized inward religious experience over ritual. However, over his life he did return to both church and scripture, drawing the ire of Münzer.
Back To The Present
Münzer read the 95 Theses and considered Luther as his spiritual mentor. Luther recommended him for a pastoral position at St. Mary’s at Zwickau, where he immediately and increasingly criticized the Franciscans until he was dismissed. He, along with two other men, shunned book learning and preached that God spoke to men directly. And most damning, they deemed themselves the only ones qualified to interpret the Bible.
After this, he bounced from church to church, stirring up the peasants – the miners, corn threshers, and farmers – saying they could teach better than Luther. He wanted the learned slaughtered, particularly pointing out Luther. His Utopian vision consisted of bringing a godly Kingdom type of equality to the earth.
In a letter written to his elector Frederick (nobles who ruled territories), he asked for toleration for Münzer and his other enemies. “Let us leave in His hands the combat and free encounter of minds.”
Thomas Münzer was tortured into a confession of his crimes, but still unrepentant towards his current congregation in a letter, not taking responsiblity. He was beheaded and impaled, rotting there as a warning to others.
Luther never advocated execution on his enemies, advocating for exile instead. Romans 12:19 states, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
The Reformation was not what it could have been because of the constant hounding of others, not only Münzer’s enemies but the peasants he used to foment his ideals.
For upwards of 20 years, I had a dream to leave the Midwest and start a new life.
My dream became a nightmare. And the death of my dream entails grief. Because of the ongoing nature of my nightmare, I don’t get healing or closure.
Last night, I was listening to my usual line-up of sermons. And I was about to fall asleep when I was awakened, and knew this time it was the Lord wanting me to hear this particular sermon. It was on handling grief. At the end, he said we need time to process grief of the people who are our enemies – people who abuse us. That got my attention.
As I was mulling this over, it came to me that the nation is going to face grief in the death of what we perceived as the American Dream.
Tidal waves of exposures are hitting our shores, sending many who have not been reading outside of the main stream media into denial, anger, bargaining, and depression – what some would call the first four grief stages of five. Some will feel guilt at being happy that enemies are gone. Some will feel regret that we could not unify and bring closure. Some will be angry that anyone will even be grieving.
Just as I yearn for healing and closure in my personal life, I yearn for the same for America. There will be a need to process grief once this scourge is over. America will not heal if we do not process the what and why of this loss. However, I believe God has better plans for us. Plans that are above and beyond our wildest imaginations, if we chose to accept it.
Listening a sermon on the radio, I heard the preacher address the issue of losing face. I have no experience in Asian culture, so I went to the World Wide Web for rudimentary knowledge. Losing Face is a complicated ideal, but basically incorporates acts that deal with individual and corporate respect and embarrassment issues.
Some aspects to this concept are praiseworthy: acts of kindness towards others and a civil society.
Moses and Aaron lost face with God when he publicly struck the rock in anger to produce water for the wandering Israelites. God had instructed him to speak to the rock. It cost them entering into the Promised Land (Numbers 20:1-13).
But I do have experience with American culture, and as I heard this phrase I immediately thought of mask wearing.
The masks have long been debunked as being safe in most situations. Now, it is being seen as a political tool to homogenize American citizens and rob us of our God-given individuality. A step towards transhumanism. I watched a YouTube video of a very angry young lady telling the mask mandaters where they could send the masks – definitely rated PG-13 for language and body language.
In the days ahead, as this plot – yes, plot – is exposed, many people are going to lose face. Compassion for those forced to wear masks is crucial in rebuilding in the days ahead. As a nation we will not heal if judgment reigns supreme. However, for those that mandated them, it can only be seen as a national security risk. On the surface, that seems harsh. But, our nation was founded on individual liberty and it is being stolen from us on the staircase to Hell.
If God would have wanted us to wear masks permanently, we would have been born with them on our faces.
Looking at the Vine’s Dictionary, the New Testament definition of holy is long, with different Greek words that are used. I see two things that stand out: conduct, but also a separateness from the world. Specifically, “ ‘Sanctification’ is thus the state predetermined by God for believers into which in grace He calls them, and in which they begin their Christian course and so pursue it.”
For Christian writers, the calling part is a given. I used to think it would be easy for me, being an introvert and not having to deal with the outside world per se. But in writing you can’t hide – even from yourself – whether or not you chose to publish in the myriad of ways available now. If God calls you to write, He might call you to write some hard truths.
Whether we chose to use foul non-gratuitous language is not a foundational conduct issue. Grace has to be given here. The real issue is being set apart from the world to write what truth God would have us write.