1. This is not the way it’s supposed to be.
We know that something is wrong. Though it shouldn’t surprise us, sometimes recent events like we’ve experienced in Hong Kong really highlight this truth. The world is broken. There is sickness, struggle, injustice and crime. We live in a fallen world and recently we’ve seen it displayed in lurid detail in our streets.
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later. For all creation is waiting patiently and hopefully for that future day when God will resurrect His children. For on that day thorns and thistles, sin, death, and decay – the things that overcame the world against its will at God’s command – will all disappear, and the world around us will share in the glorious freedom from sin which God’s children enjoy. Romans 8:18–23
2. The microscope is real.
The church is being watched. Christians are being evaluated. Our words, actions, and lack thereof, can be used as evidence to make broader conclusions about the validity of Christianity itself. Realise that your life and attitude are giving others a reason to either believe or not.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us. 1 Peter 2:12
3. Injustice is evidence for, not against, God.
Many people use disappointment in the human experience as a rationale for distancing themselves from God. “How could a good God allow this?” or “I’ve tried praying, but it doesn’t work.”
If there is no God then there is no reason to be upset with a violation of right and wrong. If we are all simply evolved from an accidental explosion then survival of the fittest is sensible, and there is no universal right and wrong – no basis for moral absolutes.
Our sense of indignation – our outrage at wrongs – is a reminder that we are made by a God who is the embodiment of Truth, who has infused in mankind a conscience.
This doesn’t mean that God is pleased with injustice, or that we should be complacent. It simply points out that our sense of morality is divinely given. It reminds us that we are made in His image.
4. Expand your faith.
Allow your frustrations and disappointments to be a vehicle for renewed faith. Like a muscle, faith grows when it’s exercised. It’s easy to have faith when life is full of rewards but when hardship comes, our faith can really grow. Lean into God even with your confusion.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2–3
5. Be passionate… about Jesus.
If someone doesn’t have a faith, it is only right to expect them to create meaning for their lives. We were made for more. Non-believers must find an anaesthetic, whether that is numbing through materialism, escapism, or activism. If we don’t know “The Way, the Truth, and the Life”, we will create our own way, truth and life.
But for the follower, we can care deeply, and be active politically, but it doesn’t define our lives. We have a greater Cause. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:3–4
6. Listen well.
So much of the pent-up anger is a result of people not being heard. You have a unique platform to listen with care during these trying times. Ask open-ended questions. Help others process by simply prodding them with thoughtful questions. In a world of increasingly loud and competing voices, a tender, listening ear is a massive gift.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19–20
7. Pump up the positivity.
There is much to be discouraged about, no doubt, but don’t let fear rule the day. Don’t be overwhelmed with negativity. Make sure you are filling your mind and heart with real, authentic, and positive thoughts.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8
8. Reserve judgment.
Certainly, there are those in your circle of family and friends who disagree with you – strongly even. Understand that people have different backgrounds, perspectives, hurts and fears, and all of these come to the forefront when a crisis presents itself. Make sure you allow room for others to think, feel, and speak differently than you. Don’t flush future opportunities for ministering to others by strongly offending over this issue.
Do not judge, lest you too be judged. Matthew 7:1
9. Show restraint.
It’s easy to get sucked into discussions and arguments that are rarely profitable. Everybody has an opinion. When emotions are at a high, you are more likely to say things you may later regret.
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable; but he who restrains his lips is wise. Proverbs 10:19
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
10. Seize the opportunity.
Historically, the church grows in times of turmoil. In Hong Kong, the same is true. Through SARS and through the Asian financial crisis, the church grew throughout the city. God weaves together circumstances for a greater tapestry than what we can fully see. Leverage the confusion and unrest in our city for opportunities to speak about the Prince of Peace. There is no policy, no leader, no government, no punishment that will satisfy the longings of the human heart. The answers we deeply desire are found in Christ.
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5