May 17, 2023
Today, we consider Truth vs. truth, freedom, fidelity to the law, and motherhood. As always, we'll aim to do it together and through the lens of the True and the beautiful. Thank you for being a vital part of The Equipped community!
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“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The promise of true freedom is a wonderful promise to hold on to, and it is one you can walk in! It is why we begin every week by seeking out Truth—with a capital ‘T.’
We live in a world of competing “truths.” What one person holds as “truth” is contradicted by the next person’s “truth.” It is nearly impossible to separate fact from fiction in this environment unless we are first rooted in the ultimate Truth found in God’s Word. The events of our world are constantly presenting us with stories and examples where truth has been abandoned or compromised, and it is incredibly tempting to adjust our commitment to truth based on our feelings about those involved. But that approach leaves us anything but free. In fact, it binds us to a narrative that grows increasingly restrictive.
In order to enjoy the full freedom that the Truth of God’s Word promises, we must develop an ironclad commitment to discerning what is honest and true. As you grow in this grace, it will liberate you from the bonds of “truth” that compete with and contradict the Truth of God’s Word.
This week, our news stories include deviations from both Truth and “truth.” They provide us with a good opportunity to walk in the freedom that comes from knowing, and living from, Truth. May you abound in that freedom today!
Strict Fidelity to the Law
“[T]he Department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law.” That is one of the main conclusions reached (on page 17) by Special Counsel John Durham in a newly released 316-page report on the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) activities surrounding the 2016 presidential campaigns.
The report, which took four years to complete, also found (on page 18) that “senior FBI personnel displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor towards the information that they received, especially information received from politically affiliated persons and entities.”
Analysis and eternal perspective: There will be copious amounts of commentary surrounding this story. To the extent you feel a need to dig into the details (and some of them are, in fact, important), you would be well-served to read the report itself—or perhaps the Executive Summary of the report (pages 7-18)—rather than consume the reactive commentary. A huge majority of the commentary will play to your political persuasions or personal feelings about the 2016 candidates. You and I are best equipped if we evaluate the evidence on its face.
In Hebrews 13:17, Paul writes, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give account.” While Paul was directly referencing church leaders, the principle applies to government leaders, as well. In order for leaders to properly fulfill their duty to keep watch, it is imperative they instill confidence in the governed. When they fail in this duty, it is proper for there to be accountability. There may be no higher duty for law enforcement officials than that of having strict fidelity to the law and applying the highest analytical rigor to the information and evidence they consider. In order to carry out this role with any effectiveness, it is imperative that political motives not be a guiding factor in investigations. The Durham Report presents compelling evidence that the DOJ and FBI did not meet this standard during the 2016 election.
As Jesus followers, we should respect and honor those in authority over us. We should also be clear-eyed and sober-minded about the fact that there should be accountability when those in authority abuse their power. Finally, even in the face of these circumstances and the great division around us, we should use our influence to promote righteousness, flourishing, and unity with our brothers and sisters.
The Equipped Community
A Redemptive Perspective
Thanks to you, The Equipped is growing! You and I share this community because we believe the power of Jesus transforms lives, and transcends even the most destructive forces in the world. By developing a habit of viewing everything through a lens of the True and the beautiful, and by seeking out a redemptive perspective on the world around us, we discover new ways to live in harmony and unity with our brothers and sisters, and ultimately for the glory of our Creator God.
This is a place where we gather as Jesus followers for the single purpose of learning how to fully surrender our lives to Him. Your participation toward that goal is of incalculable value!
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Thank you, and it is for His glory alone!
The Words of our Mouth
U.S. Representative George Santos, who rose to notoriety as a result of fabrications and embellishments of his resume, was arrested and charged with 13 counts, including wire fraud, unlawful money transactions, theft of public money, and false statements. Rep. Santos pleaded not guilty and was released on $500,000 bond.
Eternal Perspective: Matthew 12:37 says, “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” In other words, we often need to look no further than our own words to ascertain our right (or not) standing. It is no different in the world of politics, as so much is revealed by the simple words spoken by our leaders. As Jesus followers, we should strive to be truth tellers, truth discerners, and for the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart to be pleasing in God’s sight (Ps. 19:14).
Runoff in Turkey
Turkey’s presidential election is heading to a runoff on May 28, as neither President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or his opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu were able to clear the 50% majority hurdle required to secure the presidency on the first ballot.
Analysis and eternal perspective: This is the most significant challenge to President Erdogan since his rise to power in 2003. In the two decades since, Erdogan has consolidated power by converting Turkey to a presidential system at the same time he was personally transitioning from Prime Minister to President. While it is likely Erdogan has the upper hand heading to the runoff election, a third party candidate, Sinan Ogan, is also likely to wield influence during the two-week sprint campaign. As Jesus followers, we should be especially mindful of the increasing scrutiny endured by our brothers and sisters living in Turkey. Their freedom to openly worship without restriction has been greatly curtailed in recent years, and we should pray that Turkey’s leaders—no matter the outcome of this election—work to reverse that trend in the days ahead.
A Mother's Love
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Ps. 139:13).
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Is. 66:13).
As we reflect on Mother’s Day and linger in a glimpse of all that is beautiful in our world, take a moment to acknowledge the immense beauty of God’s work in you through your mother and the mother figures in your life. You were created and knit together in your mother’s womb by a loving God, and whether you knew your mother’s comfort or did not, your God promises to be your comforter.
A mother’s love and comfort is a beautiful thing indeed. Consider the ways this beauty has touched your life, and then be intentional about expressing your gratitude to those who have bestowed that precious gift.
The "news" can paralyze us with fear, but the Good News is liberating and transcendent! You can stand on Truth and focus on beauty this week as you aim toward the redemption and flourishing of those around you!