The Wisdom of the World vs. the Wisdom of God During Civil Unrest

Combating violence and unrest in the world takes true, Christ-like love.

The wisdom of the world teaches us to fight each other to defend our rights and property.

Politics, the media, social media, and man’s philosophical systems encourage us to argue, divide, and fight each other for humanity’s produce and resources.

In the materialistic/evolutionary worldview, it makes sense for us to fight, murder, enslave, and oppress each other for the strongest of our species to survive and propagate. Many believe that is how the world and humanity will progress without God, based on a secular mindset.

This is a mindset of sin and rebellion against God. The way to defeat the mindset of secularism is not to fight fire with fire. Using the tools and reasoning of rebellion and man’s wisdom is not how a Christian should attempt to combat sin.

The way to combat people who encourage murder, rape, enslavement, and pillaging is not to encourage violence against them in response. God’s word is actually very clear on this point.

For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another. I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Gal. 5:14-16 CSB)

I contend that the only proper way to fight injustice, unrest, violence, the violation of human rights, etc. (which clearly continue to exist on this earth) is for us to love one another. And the only way for us to truly love one another is through the spirit of Christ.

You might be asking, “Yes, but how do we apply this today? How do we know what it means to love one another in the 21st century in such a complicated situation?” Thankfully, God has described to us what it means to love each other in a way for us to easily understand and apply in the complicated situations of Roman occupation in the first century as well as in the 21st.

Love is patient,
love is kind,
Love does not envy,
is not boastful,
is not conceited,
does not act improperly,
is not selfish,
is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs,
love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth,
it bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things,
love never ends. (1 Cor. 13:4-8)

Before you consider that someone on the opposite political spectrum from you hasn’t been keeping this list, I hope that we can all agree that none of us has perfectly kept this list. We’ve all fallen short in many ways, on many occasions. We’ve fallen short both individually and collectively. Our church has fallen short, our nation has fallen short, our family has fallen short.

How should a Christian respond to injustice, unrest, and violence? I don’t believe that virtue signaling on social media is an acceptable response, nor is physical violence.

Before I react, perhaps I should ask myself some questions:

Am I being patient?
Am I being kind?
Am I being envious?
Am I being boastful?
Am I being conceited?
Am I acting improperly?
Am I being selfish?
Am I being provoked?
Am I keeping a record of wrongs?
Am I finding joy in unrighteousness instead of rejoicing in the truth?
Am I bearing all things?
Am I believing all things?
Am I hopes all things?
Am I enduring all things?
Does my love have a limit?

Here are a few more cutting application questions:

Does posting a funny meme condemning those of another opinion display my love?
Does name-calling display my love?
Does my witty come-back reply in the comments section display my love?
Does my behavior among my neighbors display my love for them?

If you see injustice, violence, and hate in the world then, hopefully, you will want to change that and have a desire for peace. I can assure you that the fastest and most effective way to change the world is to change yourself first. If you aren’t willing to change yourself and your family first, then you have no business trying to change the world.

As I said at the beginning, the only way to combat injustice, unrest, violence, and the violation of human rights is for us to love one another. And the only way for us to truly love one another is through the spirit of Christ.

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal. 5:24-6:2 CSB)

First, we must be reconciled to God though Christ Jesus before we can ever hope to have peace among ourselves (Eph. 2:14-16; Rom. 5:1). Second, we must recognize that it is only the love of God, through Christ, that we can truly obtain peace with each other (Eph. 2:14; 2 Cor. 13:11). Third, if we have been forgiven by God, then we must also forgive each other (Col. 3:13).

The wisdom of the world continues to encourage us to fight and dominate each other. We are taught by the world to silence those who disagree with us, and to oppress those who are different from us. We are taught to defend what is ours and take what belongs to those outside our group. But God’s word gives us a completely different instruction that sounds like foolishness to the world.

God’s word teaches us that every human being is of inestimable value and is worthy of respect having been made in God’s own image. He teaches us to love one another with a patient, forgiving, unselfish, unenvious, limitless love. He teaches us that slaves and masters, rich and poor, must become brothers and co-heirs of God’s blessings though Christ Jesus. He teaches that Christ has redeemed people from every tribe, language, people, and nation who will celebrate and reign together.

Which wisdom would you rather follow? In which world would you rather live? Which life would you rather live?

Andrew Paul Ward

Andrew Paul Ward is an ABWE missionary to Togo, West Africa, sent from Grace Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Andrew is the husband of Mary, father to Emmanuel, Cyrus, and Alethia. He holds a B.S. from Bob Jones University, an M.Div. from Temple Baptist Seminary, and an Ed.D. from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Support Andrew’s ministry.