If the prophet Amos were around today and on social media, he’d probably be canceled. He lived in a time when the people of Israel were fat and happy, and pretty much living the high life. As long as they went through the motions of what God had told them to do, they could pretty much do whatever else they wanted. Amos called them out on it.
Seek Good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts…” Amos 5: 14-15a
Some things never change. It’s been….oh, about 2700 years (give or take a decade or two) since the time of Amos, and we’re still dealing with the same stuff. We live in pretty cushy times, at least in our corner of the planet. While Christians and Jews (and anyone who truly values and lives by love and compassion) would all no doubt agree with Amos’ extortion to “hate evil, love good,” we don’t always agree on what’s evil and what’s good.
This isn’t to say we don’t know right from wrong; we do. But we’re busy, distracted creatures and so we tend to rely on institutions and “experts” to interpret things for us. We are told by media (traditional and social) and pundits how to be good. They may or may not have good advice, but how many follow along without truly questioning? How often do we really question whether or not there are diversionary tactics in play?
Life isn’t always as simple as “X is good, and Y is bad,” and most rational people would agree with that. Why, then, are so many quick to agree with statements and stances such as “guns are bad,” “unvaccinated people should be shut out of society for the good of all,” and “mask refusers are haters who want to infect us!” Oh, and let’s not forget “save the planet! Eliminate plastic waste!” Seriously, a quick perusal of Twitter or Facebook will show you all of these, and more, with “likes” piling up – often from those folks we thought were rational and could have at least a conversation on any one of those hot-button topics.
Such statements and responses aren’t hating evil. It’s more like division….and doesn’t Evil just love division?
Evil can masquerade as righteousness, charm and smile and make you think you are doing The Right Thing while you fall right into line. None of us are immune, and we must constantly seek good – especially when there’s no real cut and dry good vs. bad.
Besides, people have reasons for believing as they do. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have an actual conversation with an exchange of information? A friend recently told me (in reference to something related to CoVid) “I don’t know where you get your information, but….” I provided her with some of the information upon which I had based my decision – not to try and change her mind, but simply to show that yes, there is a lot of information out there and I wasn’t just being clueless or a selfish jerk. We can have different opinions based on the facts – but we are often exposed to different facts.
Amos summed it up simply. Hate evil. Do good. Maintain justice. (Real justice, not qualified justice.) Seek God, and seek knowledge and information with open minds and hearts.
Like Amos, our eyes will be opened to the hypocrisy in our world and in our country. We all wonder “how can we fix this?” The most important step is to bring God not just back into our lives, but back into our society. Amos saw this 2,700 years ago. We need to see this today.
Dive a little deeper. Be willing to have conversations. Recognize that it is the duty of each one of us to do what we can to bring God back into society. If you are at a meeting, request to start the meeting with a prayer. Give thanks before shared meals, even (especially) in public. Don’t let a few atheists get in the way of your civic display of faith. Support freedom. Be compassionate.
Even though it may be hard to discern, seek good.