Turmoil In Chile
For the past few days Chile has been experiencing massive protest over cost of living increases that have given way to riots, looting and violence. Many of the metro stations that service the city were destroyed, many grocery stores have been looted and some burned to the ground. We have been under mandatory curfews the last two nights and the military has been brought in to restore order along with the police. Today as we drove around we see efforts being made to clean and repair as the city is trying to quickly return to normal. In fact the grocery store in our neighborhood that was looted two nights ago was opened for limited hours. Although it is still a volatile situation for the country, we are safe and in no time do we feel in danger. This situation had caused me to reflect on several thoughts that I’d like to share: Our leaders and authorities need prayer. In fact, it is one of those specific prayer request given in Scripture (1 Timothy 1:2-3), but often we protest them instead of pray for them. The situation is delicate and they want to be sensitive to the plight of the people, but they must also maintain order. Parents need to teach their children to respect authorities. The first protest I saw on the news started as mobs of students evading the turnstiles at the metro. Sadly many parents approved and encouraged this behavior. When we undermine authority, it isn’t a slippery slope situation; it is a head-first dive off a cliff. If you can steal a dollar from the metro, why can’t you loot a grocery store? Discontentment is a dangerous manifestation of our sinfulness. These protest that supposedly started over cost of living became an excuse for many to steal from their neighbors and destroy property that isn’t theirs without regard as to the loss it was causing others. As believers we must be aware that when we become discontent with what we have, a door opens up that begins to justify all kinds of sinful actions. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the real remedy, because the Gospel changes hearts, gives peace, joy and purpose. For the past several evenings we were in missions conferences with believers. As the city around us clamored for their “fair share” Christians lifted up grateful voices in praise and committed to giving away offerings in order to send forth missionaries so that others may hear the same Gospel that changed our hearts. As believers we must remember we belong to a greater kingdom. I recognize the balance between living in the earthly realm while at the same time “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philipians 3:20) is a delicate balance. However we don’t ever want to speak or act in a way that would shame the One Whom we represent. We still love Chile. Yes we have seen a lot of the bad over the last few days, but this is still a great country full of great people. I was amazed last night to see our neighbors come together when two men attempted to break into the school across the street. We pray Chile will quickly overcome this and learn from it, and that as a result many unsaved might turn toward Christ and many believers will renew their commitment to shine as lights in the world. Please continue to pray for Chile and the churches here. ¡Viva Chile!