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A Tale of Two Countries

On May 30, a team of men and women from all ethnic backgrounds were able to launch two men into space. The historic day was accomplished by NASA and SpaceX and ushered in a new era in space travel. Hopefully there were a bunch of kids across this country who watched the launch and were inspired of what they might get to do in their lives. It was truly an inspiration. It’s incredible to see what mankind can accomplish if they work together.

Unfortunately, on that same day, there were thousands of people across this country attempting to burn it all to the ground. I mean that figuratively and literally. There have been riots in major cities all across America. Personal property is being burned and looted. Even houses of worship have been destroyed. It has been sickening to witness.

There are countless discussions to be had with either of these events, and I am sure most have heard and seen enough. But I can’t help but ask, how can you on one hand have this group of people build something like that rocket, and on the other have a group that only wants to destroy? When I think about that question the answer falls into what is actually guiding these two groups.

Those scientists all had the same goal which was to get to the International Space Station. They had the same data points. While they may have different specialized degrees all the sciences are coming from the same factual information. The math necessary for that flight had to be right. The weather had to be right. In fact, the launch was originally scheduled earlier in the week, but was postponed due to weather. The mission was a success because the people behind it never let their emotions cloud the facts that they were working with.

On the other hand, those rioting do not have the same goal. They may say the goal is justice, but that is a vague word. The specifics of justice really depend on who you are talking to. Some may want justice for George Floyd, but even after his murderer was arrested the riots kept going. Many think that America is an unjust nation and real justice can only come if America’s foundation is destroyed. Justice as the overall goal is not clear. The people engaged in these acts are not all coming from the same guiding principles, facts, or goals. The only thing that they have in common is they are angry. These riots are based on emotion.

Emotions are extremely powerful. Emotions have the ability to draw people together. We empathize and sympathize with people who are feeling something. Emotions have the ability for us to take a step out of our comfort zone and do something. Emotions are not bad… but they can be. In situations where we overlook facts because of emotion, we are going down a path of utter destruction. These riots are a vivid illustration.

Those scientists definitely had emotions tied to their mission, but they didn’t let their emotions guide them into foolishness. They knew that no matter how much they felt towards launching on the 27th, it wouldn’t change the fact of the weather. Instead, they reassessed the situation and changed their actions. The launch would take place on the 31st.

It is so easy for all people to make bad conclusions because of emotion. Think about what the bible teaches about sin, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9-10). This passage teaches in a factual way that sexually immoral people will not go to heaven, but there are some of you who justify living with your significant other. It clearly teaches that drunkards will not go to heaven, but many readers justify their drinking. It clearly teaches that those who engage in homosexual activity will not go to heaven, but more and more professed Christians water down that teaching (looking at you Methodist church). How do people get around these teachings? Emotions.

Many people will be lost because they “felt right” in religion. They go through life thinking everything is good without ever considering that the bible says “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer 17:9). Instead, people need to be opening their bible and “seeing whether these things are so” (Acts 17:11) and “rightly dividing” it (2 Tim 2:15). The bible is clear on sin, salvation, and worship. Our emotions are the only thing that can get in the way of that clear teaching (2 Cor 3:15).

When our goal is truly set on heaven, our emotions surround that goal. Like the Jews of Acts 2, our hearts are “pricked” by the gospel (2:37), and we are willing to do whatever because heaven is the goal. We scrub our plans and our desires and align ourselves with God’s plan. When they say to repent and be baptized (2:38) we just do it because heaven is the goal. Then we abide in the apostles’ doctrine (2:42) no matter what our emotions say because heaven is the goal.

What is guiding you today? Your response to this may tell the tale. Your heart is probably telling you, that this can’t be true. If you listen to that you are being guided by unchecked emotions. I beg you to realize that you are on a path of utter destruction. Please let the word of God light your path (Psalm 119:105).

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