Do not conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2).
Do you conform to what is expected from society, or do you do the right thing? What standards to you use when making decisions: what you know is right, or what most people do? I like to watch the reality TV show “What Would You Do?” with John Qui~ones. It shows how people usually react to injustice and prejudice. It makes us think what would we do in a situation where people are blatantly treated unfairly. Do we dare stand up against racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, and the like? In one of my previous posts (Lesson 4 ) I talked about Matthew 5:6 which is about being hungry for righteousness. In this post, I go a little further by explaining Matthew 5:10. Jesus said “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”. It is not enough to simply want to treat others equally and do it. It is also imperative to continue to do it in spite of what this world says, which teaches the opposite. Don’t get me wrong, most modern laws are designed to enforce justice, equality, and the rights of people (“All men are created equal…”). However, we still struggle with prejudice, racism, terrorism, discrimination, and other practices that keep us segregated and struggling. Human trafficking, suicide terrorists, genocide, and other inhumane acts continue to devour our world. They are monstrosities which prove that Evil does exist in this world. I define evil as simply serving the self alone. Any selfish act, without considering the needs of others, is evil. And it always leads to mistreatment of others. And since the self is all that matters, others become objects to be used. Hiding our selfish acts, by pretending, lying, and covering it up is even more evil. Everything that is not honest and sincere is evil. Jesus talked about this in John 3:19-21 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” This is why I believe that this world is in darkness, because what is practiced is evil acts to serve the self, and they hide it so that it is not exposed. But in order to live the Kingdom of Heaven, we must practice righteousness and point out the unrighteousness. Don’t you know that friendship with the world means hostility with God? So whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God ( James 4:4). Jesus taught us to learn the Lord’s Prayer, which says “let us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13) which included the temptation of going with the flow of this selfish world.
I am glad that there are people and communities that are waking up to the realization that things like racism, discrimination, and homophobia are wrong and should not be tolerated. But practicing righteousness is not easy when there are other people around us who continue to be unfair and selfish with their own arrogant belief systems that segregate us. Just because we have different view points about religion, for instance, does that mean we cannot come up with some agreement? The moment that I believe that I am better than you because of my race, social status, or religion, I start practicing evil. If I let go of these preconceived concepts and start regarding you as a human being worth of respect simply because you are human, then I begin to live the Kingdom of Heaven. Injustice and discrimination must be revealed. It must be pointed and rebuked! We must acknowledge the injustice and discrimination that exists all around us, no matter how difficult and unpopular. Jesus did exactly this when he publicly exposed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, comparing them with white tombs filled with bones and everything unclean. He calls them “blind fools” and “snakes” (Matthew 23). I don’t mean going out and start condemning people on street corners, but refuse to be part of the injustice of this world and be active in organizations that fight for justice. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached civil rights. Rosa Parks dared to exemplify fairness. Eleanor Roosevelt advocated for children, women, and minorities. Gandhi fought discrimination. Dalai Lama struggled for peace and liberty. All these famous human rights pioneers and many more fought for what was right, no matter how others tried to silence them. Let us not blend with this world, but be light of the world (Matthew 5:14), by making a difference in fighting for righteousness.