We do not grieve like the rest of men

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Paul writes, “Brothers, we do not want you to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.” He doesn’t say stop grieving, but when something does cause us grief we’re not overwhelmed by hopelessness.

But that’s awfully tough to do, because I feel an utter sense of hopelessness listening to how we’re supposed to deal with terrorists. The war mongers want us to beat them into submission, because violence is the only language terrorists understand, but the peacemakers want us to back off, because we’re only getting the terrorists mad at us, and why should our men and women die for a war that’s not ours? Either way it feeds right into the terrorist agenda of recruiting more members, because our war mongering justifies their cry of defending themselves against vicious bullies, while our peace making justifies their cry of how weak we are, because we talk a good fight but we won’t put boots on the ground for fear of more body bags.

I haven’t heard a leader or a debate yet that knows what to do. I’ve never seen such a hopeless state of affairs, where so-called experts have totally opposing solutions, and leaders jut their jaws out at the cameras claiming they’re not intimidated, but meanwhile lock down cities out of fear of another attack. I can almost hear the howling cackles of terrorists watching us fighting each other, and how easy it is to bring us to a standstill.

The question then becomes: How on earth do we deal with our own feeling of hopelessness, so we’re not drawn into taking sides, or yelling for revenge, or condemning our leaders, or resorting to violence in return?

Paul’s answer in the very next verse, verse 14, is: “We believe that Jesus died and rose again,” and that, chapter 5:5, marks us as “sons of the light and sons of the day,” who “do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then,” verse 6, “let us not be like others,” because verse 8, “we belong to the day,” so “let us be self-c0ntrolled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”

These are OUR instruments of war and our way of grieving in a frightening situation. We buckle on our “Jesus is Lord” helmet and strap on our protective over-the-heart breastplate of trust that Jesus is in charge, believing there’s nothing in this world that happens to us that Jesus can’t and won’t solve. So instead of grieving like the rest of men, we are freed up to offer love and care.