1Peter 3:8 “All of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers…”
“We make people smile and spread love. No matter what’s going on, no matter what conflicts we have — the good, the bad and the ugly — there’s still hope. There’s people out here who have love for each other no matter what. To see a black man and a white cop hugging each other, it gives a sense of hope in America that we can come together regardless of skin color, sexuality, religion, belief, anything like that.”
What politician shared these incredible words of wisdom? Was it a sports hero, or Hollywood icon? Maybe a church leader? It was 2 young Kansas City men – amateur videographers named Mugzy Bulljunk and Izzy Russell who make videos that spread love and unity at a time our nation is deeply divided.
These words came from their latest video just over a week ago, when the two of them came up on a white police officer in KC. Here are Mugzy’s words on what happened: “I just said, ‘You can’t guard me,’” (Mugzy was dressed in a football uniform and running receiver patterns in the video). “The police officer said, ‘Here, on the sidewalk?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah on the sidewalk.’ He said, ‘OK, let’s do it.’ So we did, and it was amazing.” Afterwards, they hugged and smiled over what was obviously an amazing display of people just loving on each other. This unscripted video has thousands of internet hits, including KC Chiefs players.
What Mugzy and Izzy accomplished, by showing their love for others, can transform the culture. Especially considering the person they chose to love on – a police officer. As our police are targeted by many radical activist groups and even state politicians (the most recent controversial move by NY City to slash a billion dollars from the NYPD budget), this makes Mugzy and Izzy’s video more motivational. They have proven that it is possible to transform culture through loving others who are being labeled as unlovable.
This is the Christian message. Our verse this week is part of Peter’s message to the early church. Here are his words in full: “All of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be humble, not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good. Let him seek peace and pursue it.’ For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears open to their prayers. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1Peter 3:8-12).
The culture in Rome at the time of Peter’s instructions to the church gives us some insights on how we can respond today, when actions like Mugzy and Izzy’s are hard to find. Peter wrote at the time when Rome was burning (64-65 AD). The Roman citizens believed that their Emperor Nero set the fire (the historian Tacitus provides these details). The fire, which lasted 7 days, devastated the city and the Roman citizens.
Pastor John MacArthur explains the dire situation in Rome at the time: “The Romans were totally devastated. Their culture, in a sense, went down with the city. All the religious elements of their life were destroyed – their great temples, shrines, and even their household idols were burned up. This had great religious implications because it made them believe that their deities had been unable to deal with this widespread destruction and were also victims of it. The people were homeless and hopeless. Many had been killed. Their bitter resentment was severe, so Nero realized that he had to redirect the hostility.
Nero’s scapegoat was the Christians, who were hated because they were associated with Jews, and they were seen as hostile to Roman culture. Nero spread the word that the Christians had set the fires. As a result, vicious persecution against Christians began, quickly spreading throughout the Roman Empire.”
The apostle Peter wrote 1Peter to strengthen the church with the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, that no matter what evil that others may say or do, the message of the Cross of Jesus Christ is to “turn away from evil, to do good, and to seek peace and pursue it.” This was how Christianity not only overcame Roman culture but eventually so transformed the world that today our very calendar is based on the birth of Christ!
People ask me, “With so much ill will going around toward each other, what can I do?” Follow Mugzy and Izzy’s example. When you see a policeman, go up and thank them for their service. If they are having a meal somewhere, pick up their tab. Love on our police. When people see it, you can tell them that you choose to “do good, and pursue peace”, which will transform our culture and fulfill the law of Christ.
The Evidence of Faith’s Substance – Article #406