Some of my Florida friends—along with hundreds of others– recently were participating in an online prayer call with the leaders of their home church. To their horror, mid-prayer, pornographic images began flashing across their screens, bringing an abrupt halt to the virtual meeting. After a day of investigating, a 26-year old son of one of the participants was found responsible.
When the story was shared with me, my first response was how mortified his poor mother must be. The church leaders also recognized that, but more importantly, they saw a young man who desperately needs Jesus. They are praying for opportunities to disciple him.
Last week I wrote about the radical protestors who were looting and creating havoc in American cities, following the death of George Floyd. I said their destructive actions would do nothing to prevent racism, and that innocent business owners were being irreparably harmed/killed by the thugs’ actions.
Following that article, a visiting Steamboat Springs, Colorado, friend and business owner shared about the peaceful protest in his community–about 30 people standing on the lawn of the courthouse. And then Antifa showed up, attempting to incite a rebellion. The peaceful protestors would have none of it and sent the rebels on their unmerry way. I found myself cheering that the rebel group had their “Come to Jesus” moment, although I’m not sure they did.
But as I learned of the pornographic Bible study interruption, I began to compare the response the church leaders had to the guilty man versus my response to the protestors. I thought about how embarrassed the parents of the radicals had to be when they went to the jailhouse to bail out their sons/daughters. Putting myself in their shoes, I knew that if those were my children…well, let’s just say they would beg to stay in jail instead of going home with me.
It was an Aha! moment when I realized that, like the church leaders, I had missed the first response God wanted me to have towards the thugs: prayer that they find Jesus. Granted, that does not mean there should not be consequences, but before the porn story, I had ruled out nothing as deserved punishment: tazing; being sprayed by a firehose or tear-gassed at close range; forcing them to make restitution to the shop owners or police department (even if meant working for the rest of their lives); or coming home with me.
After all, these insurgents had chosen to act out with no regard for the innocent people involved. Just like the pornographer. Yet the church had chosen to pray for him, realizing that he is one of God’s children and God wants, more than anything, for all of us to come to know him. 1 Tim. 2:4 tells us so: (God)… wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
I would love to think that there will be stories of redemption from these vindictive protestors, that they will understand how loved they are by their Creator who sent His son to pay the price for their sinful behavior, that in the future they will take a stand to prevent others from acting as they did. I know that’s what God wants. I also know that He wants me to pray for that to happen.
Apparently, I’m needing a “Come to Jesus” moment myself.