I remember a preacher saying this one time: “Do you read the newspaper? The newspaper is the Church’s report card for the nation.”
Those words certainly make sense. The Church is called to make an impact on the world, and not leave her message hidden inside the four walls. Matthew 5:14-16 declares, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
For many of us, it is difficult to think of impacting a city or a nation when we can’t even seem to get out of the rut we’re in. Our thoughts run like this: Think of others? The city? The nation? But I’m depressed as it is! My problems are too big and my time is barely enough for me and my family!
It takes a heart of LOVE to go beyond self. And it takes the heart of Jesus growing inside us to heed the call of the righteously wild: to love God with everything we are, and to love others as we love ourselves (see Matthew 22:37-40). To love beyond ourselves doesn’t come with mere well-wishing; it comes with allowing the heart of Jesus to move us; to love what He loves and hate what He hates. If Jesus made it clear that His mission field was the world (see John 3:16), then our own mission field ought to be the world.
We must ask ourselves: if Jesus loved the world, then do we? Does the newspaper alarm us enough to weep and get down on our knees? Do we use our gifts and strengths to help our neighborhood know Jesus? Do we weep for our cities? Do we care for our nation? We should want righteousness and justice in our streets!
Our cities are wounded. Our nations are wounded. Where do we start?
In the Bible, Nehemiah wept for Jerusalem. He wept for its broken walls and burnt houses and fallen gates. He wept because his people were unfaithful and were reaping the results of disobedience. They were scattered, exiled; those remaining in Jerusalem overwhelmed by disgrace. Nehemiah wept, identifying himself as one with a nation that sinned against God.
In the privacy of Nehemiah’s room, God heard this weeping cupbearer. Amidst all the rubble and gloom of Israel, God was getting ready to do a new thing. The person He would use to spearhead the rebuilding of Jerusalem was none other than this man whose tears could move Heaven.
I believe that God’s people, His Church, ought to have hearts that weep for their world. If we are to see the Church lighting up the world, a good place to start is to come before the Lord. We can ask Him to teach us how to weep for the things that make Him weep; to love people the way He does; to make crooked paths straight by championing laws and applauding bills that echo righteous character. The Church shouldn’t be afraid to go out of their way to feed the poor and clothe the naked; to hate evil and challenge the heart’s lukewarm condition. We can be like Nehemiah on his knees.
When God sees us weeping and partnering with Heaven to see His kingdom manifest on earth, then God Himself will open doors for streets and cities and nations to see the Light that is JESUS. We should be excited about this.
So today, as we read the newspaper, it is good to ask ourselves: can we weep for the world? Our knees are a good place to start.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.