Applied Belief: The right time to kneel

Should you take a knee or stand? What started as a protest over oppression and inequality by one football player has now for many become a way to protest not only oppression but the president of the United States. There is a national conversation taking place on this issue and you can find a whole host of opinions and perspectives.

We cherish our first amendment rights in this country and as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his last speech “somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for rights.” We are blessed to be able to express ourselves and protest for what we believe to be right.

The issue from my perspective is not the protest, but the timing and placement of the protest. Neither our nation nor its founding documents have ever been perfect. We should view the flag and the National Anthem not for our failures but the freedom we have to correct any wrongs we might have committed or permitted as Americans. Men and women serving under this flag fought so we could have the right to freely express our views and this should be honored.

Again, just because we have the right to do something doesn’t mean that the timing and location we chose to express this right is, in fact, right or advantageous. God tells us through the Apostle Paul that “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up.” (1 Corinthians 10:23) This is the key. It might be lawful to do something including protest but not all things are helpful and the timing and placement don't always lead to building up.

As I write this, dozens of people are dead and hundreds are lying in hospital beds fighting for their lives after the act of terror in Las Vegas. Evil is real. What will remain true after the events in Las Vegas, as it has and will for all future incidents of evil is that the Devil enjoys this more than the evilest human being. Jesus told us that the Devil is not only a liar (John 8) but he is a thief and this thief “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10) In Las Vegas he showed again the power he has, to steal our joy, to kill our friends, family and fellow Americans, and ultimately, he furthered his plan to destroy this nation.

The Devil thrives on division, not unity. As Abraham Lincoln famously said when he quoted the Bible “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The greatest threat to our nation and our way of life is our own division. We have a chance to get it right. The answer is not in abolishing our Constitution but going back further to our real roots, our Judeo-Christian values.

God allowed this country to come into existence and it is by his grace that we still stand. We must turn to him if we hope to preserve this Union. Lincoln understood that our unity, this union, dates back to the very first men and women who imagined this nation. “Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution.”

The right to protest, the right to disagree is foundational to the freedom we have as Americans. Yet, let us not forget we are Americans. And more importantly, we are all created in the image of God. Take a knee, lock arms, stand, whatever we do, let us remember the word of God “All things are lawful, but not all things build up.” Let us build each other up. Let us not allow the Devil to do his deed of stealing our unity and destroying our union.

Lincoln again challenged us in his first inaugural “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Our only hope, as Lincoln recognized many times, is in Jesus. It is he who is “before all things, and in him, all things hold together. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:17,19-20)
There is still time for reconciliation not only as individuals through salvation in Jesus Christ but to do the right thing in placing our trust and our hope in him, for this very nation we love.

** The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of Chadds Ford Live. We welcome opposing viewpoints. Readers may comment in the comments section or they may submit a Letter to the Editor to editor@chaddsfordlive.com

 

 

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About Rev. Marcos O. Almonte

Rev. Marcos O. Almonte is senior pastor at Brandywine Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist Church west of Philadelphia. Pastor Marcos is a graduate of Palmer Theological Seminary with more than 10 years working with families with an expertise in theology, trauma and addictions. Pastor Marcos and his wife Mary have three children, Carmen, Joseph, and Lincoln.

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