How can I be a blessing in a time of turmoil? Dr. Ligon Duncan encourages believers to remember God’s sovereignty and our calling to be a blessing to our neighbors.
In this season of pandemic and social turmoil, Christians ask themselves from time to time, “How can I be a blessing in a time of social unrest?” I think that’s a good question for a believer to ask at all times because God has put believers in the world so that all the families of the earth will be blessed. That’s part of the Abrahamic covenant; it goes all the way back to Genesis 12:1–3. One of the things that God has put believers in the world to do, in addition to glorifying and enjoying him, is to be a blessing to the nations. We’re to be a blessing to our nation and our community and our culture. So when our nation, our community, our culture is in turmoil and unrest, we need to be asking ourselves the question, “How can I be a blessing?
Remember God Is Sovereignly Working All Things for Our Good
One thing, of course, that we must do—and believers have a unique resource in this—is not get caught up so much in the tensions and the polarities that exist in our own time that we lose biblical perspective on things. Believers realize that no matter how heightened the anxieties and the tensions of the day are, we live in a world where our God is sovereignly in control, and he is working his purposes out. Very often, he is working his purpose out in times of great turmoil.
We live in a world where our God is sovereignly in control, and he is working his purposes out.I often reflect about the fact that the great Reformation of the 16th century followed on enormous social turmoil in Europe in the 14th and the 15th centuries. You had the Black Death, the bubonic plague. You had the Babylonian captivity of the papacy. You had the Hundred Years’ War. You had all manner of things going on in society that created unrest, and then God prepared the way for blessing. So when believers are in a culture where there is turmoil, they need to remember God is up to something in this turmoil. God is going to work all things together for the good of his people, even in these hard things (Rom. 8:28). That means that I can then realize that part of my job in this context is to figure out how to be a blessing to other people.
View People as Neighbors, Not Enemies
A powerful thing that Christians can do is this: view people not as your enemy, but as your neighbor.In a time of social turmoil, people tend to divide into groups and view the other groups as enemies. A powerful thing that Christians can do is this: view people not as your enemy, but as your neighbor. Even if that person isn’t concerned for your best interest, even if that person really does want to be your enemy, figure out how you can be a blessing to a person who considers himself or herself to be your enemy. Our Lord and Savior said, “Love your enemies” (Matt 5:44). In a time of turmoil that tends to polarize people and put them at opposition, one thing that believers can do is treat those who view themselves as enemies as neighbors, to actually genuinely care about their well-being.
When we do that, and when we do that with a principial commitment to the great truths of God’s Word, we’re in a position to be a blessing even to people who would want to curse us. When we’re in that position, we are in the position of our Savior, and we want to walk the way of the Master. He blessed those who revile. We want to be able to bless those, even those who revile us, because we know that our Father is sovereignly controlling all things for his own glory and for our everlasting good. We’re set free to be a blessing to others, even at a time of turmoil.