In an age where polarization is the norm, where not being decidedly in one camp leaves one presumptively in its opposite, and where one’s level of volume and number of followers are the ways to measure one’s moral authority, it may seem nearly impossible to live a life that has any coherence and it is very difficult to be motivated to live on a higher plane of social engagement.
The past year has seemed to be one, long marathon of “mob-baiting” and people have readily been taken in. From mega-media outlets who love the frantic fervor that their “reporting” induces (as it represents tons of revenue) to a multitude of politicians who benefit from actions emanating from the angst we tend to feel over the “villainy” of whatever scapegoat they can contrive, we are beset with forces intent on inflaming our worst attitudes and inciting us to harmful actions.
To be sure, there are some who enjoy the dramatics of people striving against people. And there are many who feel indignant and powerless at what truly are evils in our society and world. All of these things create for us an ideal recipe for conflict, confusion, and the collateral damage of what are at times intentional acts to harm others and are at other times reckless actions that unintentionally harm others. In any case, you are likely to feel whipped, wounded, and weary in the struggles we face today because not only are there real problems, with real pain, for so many, but it hurts us to see others exploit that pain and use it for personal gain.
Such dynamics remind me of Psalm 2:1-2, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed?” (ESV).
The world is definitely “raging” and people are certainly “plotting.” But the end result is that such efforts, such pursuits, and such attempts to glorify selves and fortify selfish interests are all ultimately in vain. They come to nothing. When at last God draws the curtain, so to speak, on this age, there will be an accounting for our lives, our words, our treatment of others, and our response to Jesus Christ.
Thus, the Bible admonishes us to “fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:1-3 ESV).
In others words, participating in “mob-baiting” (either by “taking the bait” or by “laying the trap”) is a futile venture affecting no good thing for you, your family, or your world. That is not to say that you and I shouldn’t be engaging the world around us with whatever opportunities to help others and change the world that God may give us. We should be! We should exert whatever resources and energies that God grants us to be stewards over to help others know the love of Christ! But we shouldn’t be “driven” by circumstances to do or say evil of others (no, the end does not justify the means). We shouldn’t be driven to angst, fear, and hatred by a world that seems out of control.
Instead, we should take to heart the counsel of the Scriptures, “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him” (Psalm 2:10-12 ESV).
It turns out that the world is not out of control after all. God is on His throne. He is watching. He is moving. And He is drawing things to their appointed end. Trust in that. Trust in Him.
Copyright © 2021, Thom Mollohan.
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 26 years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.