Have you ever been in a place where there was a darkness so thick it was stifling? It seemed like it was all consuming and could almost suck the air from your lungs.
That’s what it felt like when I saw the news from the past couple of days regarding a top Planned Parenthood director talking nonchalantly over a meal about dismembering of babies in order to harvest their body parts for research purposes. Then to have the realization that for a huge chunk of the culture this isn’t an evil and murderous act but rather “science, progress, health care and choice.”
How do Christians respond to such evil and is there any hope of overcoming such darkness? The Bible and the words of Jesus would tell us that there is hope and that hope is rooted first and foremost in the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the close of the Gospel of Matthew. The command that would launch the church and serve as the rallying cry for the body that Jesus commissioned to be the instrument to bring about his Kingdom in this world.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
That “Great Commission” was given from the lips of the Divine man who had done the impossible: Defeated Satan, sin, and death and created a way for humanity to be restored to a right relationship with God and also launching a Kingdom movement that will culminate in a new and perfect earth. It was a victory over sin that was so complete that even abortion doctors, murderers, racists, thieves, adulterers, those in sexual sin, and me could be saved from the depths of our depravity.
So to advance God’s Kingdom is to make disciples. To advance God’s Kingdom is to push back darkness. To advance God’s Kingdom is to link arms with brothers and sisters of other races when they are mistreated, marginalized, and murdered and say, “You are my family.” To advance God’s Kingdom is to come alongside a world enslaved to sexual passion and show them a better way. To advance God’s Kingdom is to give that scared mom who sees no option other than abortion another option. That may be through help birthing the baby, help raising the baby, or helping find an adoptive family. To advance God’s Kingdom is to not dismiss social justice as something only liberals care about but rather to embrace a social justice informed by the Gospel and the Great Commission. To advance God’s Kingdom is to stop seeing illegal immigrants first as problematic pests to be rid of and to see them as an opportunity to take the Gospel to the nations right in our own backyards and street corners. To advance God’s Kingdom is to go to every tribe and every tongue no matter the cost so that they too might hear the name of Jesus and be saved. To advance God’s kingdom is to stop seeing the world through lenses of “us and them” or “Democrat and Republican” or “black and white” or “gay and straight” or “American and everyone else” but rather the lens of “sinners who have been saved by grace and sinners who need to be saved by grace.”
So, Christians, if you want to know what you can do to respond when it seems like every day there is more evil and more darkness it’s to shine the Light of the World into that darkness. To Go! To make disciples of all nations so that finally on the day that Jesus returns in glory to make all things new we can stand victoriously with our brothers and sisters (former abortion doctors, murderers, racists, thieves, adulterers, those in sexual sin) in Christ from across millennia and join them in singing in every language imaginable, “HOLY! HOLY! HOLY! IS THE LORD ALMIGHTY!
That gives me hope. That helps me breathe in stifling darkness because I know it’s darkest in the moments right before dawn begins to break over the horizon.