2018-12-11 - Infiltrations
In just the state where I live, there are over 70,000 gang members. They not only control a lot of enterprises and people “on the outside,” but they have even infiltrated the prisons. For many years, the gangs have conducted “Business” from behind prison bars. And now, there is a new wrinkle; due to the persuasion of the convicted gang members, some of the guards have been persuaded to join gangs, so thus there is corruption going on. This helps to explain the frequent instances of contraband such as illegal drugs and cellphones being found among prisoners.
Many of the gang members come across the US Southern border, and plenty of them are homegrown. Gang members are known to commit all manner of violent offenses - murder, rape, molestation, robbery and others. They are destructive to individuals, families and society. But one thing that you can say for the Bloods, the Crips, MS-13, the Southside Mafia, et al: They are very effective “evangelists” for their cause. We Christians could actually learn a lesson from the gang members.
This is a particularly apropos discussion for this time of year, as we are experiencing Advent, a time of waiting on the full celebration of Christ’s advent to Earth as a human being. Christ is the Light of the World. As Christ said, as recorded by John in John 9:5,
While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” Christ came to shine light into the darkness of the world, and in like manner, we are to follow in his footsteps.
Disciple Matthew recorded Christ’s words for us, which can be found in Matthew 5:14
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a [g]basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Everywhere we go, we should be infiltrators for Christ, just as the gang members do for their gangs. I have been a Christian since I was 15, and only a handful of times, have people actually come out and told me that my life inspired them to believe in Jesus, or to go back to church. I was humbled and thankful for these instances, but most often, my words have been persuasive. God can use both our words and actions. As the above passage teaches, we do need for people to see our good works, or they won’t know that they were inspired by Christ. That doesn’t mean bragging, of course, but it does mean bringing it up naturally, when given the opportunity.
When I was working for a prosecutor’s office, helping innocent and mostly minority victims of violent offenses such as rape, child molestation, families of murder victims etc., I was described as bringing light into the darkness of sometimes unconscionable violence, a world where people’s lives are sometimes treated as just disposable and meaningless. Sometimes, victims or their families would tell me that they admire me, because every day, I would go into court with victims, and hear the worst of what people to do each other. They even called me a hero, but to me, THEY were the heroes. THEY were the ones who were trying to “do life” after being traumatized, sometimes after losing a young family member because they “looked at someone with disrespect” or wore the wrong color in the wrong area etc. I felt right at home in that environment, helping people to live with a “new normal” in their lives.
But sometimes, being a light means going out of our comfort zones. To give you a personal example, sometimes there is an issue burning on my heart, an issue where the has been deceit spread about someone or about an issue, or a lack of justice in a certain situation. I feel compelled to correct the misinformation, and to inform people of the actual facts.
This is not something that I enjoy. In fact, I actually dread it, because there are always misinformed people who want to argue - and who wants to hear that, or to go where people are spreading myths they often haven’t even bothered to research for themselves? But I feel the necessity, because obviously there are a lot of people who do not have trustworthy information sources. This does make a difference in our country and world, because what people believe is reflected in their behavior, their words and their votes.
I could not sleep at night, nor have inner peace, if I know something is a lie, but I don’t let it be known, or I know that someone is being unfairly smeared - yet I keep that info to myself. If I don’t do anything about it, I am part of the problems.
I don't know about you, but I want to be part of the SOLUTION. Each of us needs to pray and ask God how He wants to use us as Christ’s infiltrators, to bring love, justice, truth and light into the dark places of the world.
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