1996-09-19 - We Stand Silent
It was on August 17th, 1996, that the "Gangsta-Rapper" Tupac Amaru Shakur died of injuries received from a drive-by shooting. Police believe that he was the intended victim. It struck me hard that all we heard from the media was as terse as possible. He was shot, he should survive, he's much worse, he is dead. Shakur started Death Row Records, now valued at $125 million. He had lived and extolled a life of violence, and had died by the sword, in the end. His assassins showed no regard for the lives of others uninvolved on the street. While Las Vegas has a reputation for unseemliness, it is also a family vacation spot where the casinos, glitz and flash are not a must. Their target was all that mattered. The fact that they were about to snuff out a life, that they had no power to restore, never crossed their minds. They recognized accountability only to themselves, their gang and the cause.
How have we fallen this far? Shakur himself had attempted to cast off the gangster image. During the last year of his life, he firmly refuted his image as a thug. "I have lived the thug life; it was stupid." In an interview weeks before his death, he stated, however, that he no longer felt he could change.
In spite of all this, there was little or no urging by the media, to the young people who followed this man, to look at their fallen hero and see that the gangsta-rap philosophy lacked hope and a future. The media were silent. The efforts of man to change himself, will ultimately fall short of the perfection that is required by God.
But God is willing to make the change, if we only permit it and stop resisting His call. Ezekiel 36:25-26 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols 26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Why were they silent? Why no plea to see the vacant, hollow shell that was left of the cause? Why allow the masses of young people to continue down a road that leads to an illiterate, violent existence? Why will they explain politics in detail, providing us with their spin or vision of what was said, and leave this without comment? If I get started now, I will fly off on a tangent, never to return.
"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword." (Matt 26:52 NIV)
I urge you all to consider. This does lead to other issues. What will become of Shakur's following? Will they simply gravitate to another rapper, or drift off aimlessly?
Where is the church, in all this? There are several vibrant, powerful churches that inhabit our inner cities. For those of us not in that battleground, we must pray for these who are in the trenches of the war for so many souls. I urge everyone to pray for the quickening of churches that have fallen asleep in their comfortable, safe messages. The hour is late, and the hearts of many, saved and unsaved, are as cold as ice. We, too, have been silent. It is my fear that the mainstream churches of the 20th century have abdicated, and left big government to take care of the world.
Where was Jesus during His earthly life? He was running to the sick, needy and those who have searching hearts. He was running with a message of hope. Hope not as the world gives, but an expectant hope. Not "I hope this is really going to happen", but "I hope it happens soon!". We have allowed programs like Welfare to take up the slack when families and individuals needed assistance. Instead of helping the family with grocery money, sending over a meal and helping them do job searches, the government now has 3rd- and 4th- generations of people on the rolls. They have tried to take on the job of the church, and don't know how.
The church has abandoned its mission, and is, in many cases, in need of rekindling the compassion for outreach and the faith to believe that God will provide. We have the message of hope.
"`For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord,' plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.'" (Jeremiah 29:11)
We extol Yankee independence, when we need accountability to God and our fellow man. A close friend can help us keep on track. Jesus never meant for us to make it on our own. He will be there, and the Holy Spirit and confidants, to help us stay brutally honest with ourselves.
"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13 KJV).
Those of us who have ears must pray. Those of us who hear the call must answer. My call now is to pray. To pray for a President who makes me angry, but is still the President, a leader appointed by God Almighty. I have been horribly negligent in this. To pray for the leaders in the church, to look for ways to help the community in physical and spiritual needs and means. To pray for my friends and my enemies, who believe that I am mad for believing in something that I can not see, feel or touch. May they see and sense the reality of Jesus Christ in me. And to pray for the sleeping heart of this nation, once great under God, now teetering on the edge of socialism. To pray for the church, the body of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, to take the simple, unadorned message of the love and compassion of a living Savior, to the world, and shake it to its very foundations - one more time.
Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your patience with Your children. We have allowed the message to fade from the ears of the world, to be lost in the mindless clutter and the lies of the enemy. Refire our hearts full of the simple, direct messages of the Gospel, saturated with prayer. Stoke the hearts of your people to pray, and to know Your word and Your will. Prepare us, at all times, to give an answer for the powerful faith that You have saved us with, in Your love, grace and mercy. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.