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There is a place more dangerous than any other. If you were to go there, you would surely find and experience all kinds of evil. Murder is common and even acceptable. There is blood everywhere. Not only will you witness adultery, but you will also be enticed to join in. There is no modesty. You will come in contact with every sexual distortion and pornographic practice known to man.

None of your possessions will be safe, but will be eyed and violently subject to every passer by. The truth will be completely hidden, while lies color the canvass of all that you see. No one can be trusted. And if these things were not horrid enough, everything you are and stand for will be belittled, shamed and distorted. You will be personally and explicitly slandered. You will be exposed and mocked. You will be lied about, humiliated, and defamed.

This place is completely dark. There is no light.

It is completely sick and perfuse with every contagious famine imaginable.

It is absolutely hopeless and cold. There are no apparent answers.

International coalitions, government agencies, and neighboring communities work long hours and spend countless resources to fly away from, fight against, and/or fix the problems of this most dangerous place in the world.

Our efforts to fly away are relentless and only serve to make matters worse. If left alone, darkness, death, and coldness will reproduce and spread. In our fear, we have taken light away and expected the darkness to fade. We have retracted warmth and expected winter to wane. We have taken life from a place and expected something other than death.

Our efforts to fight have fallen equally short. [pullquote]In our anger, we have brought judgment and law only to see lawlessness, dishonesty and arrogance rise.[/pullquote] We have approached with our fists clinched, weapons armed, and shields raised. We expected life via war and peace via oppression. We expected something other than the tragedy of relational separation.

And in our efforts to fix things, we have focused on the things we can manage – the mind, behavior and environment. We think this place is dangerous because of ignorance. Therefore, we attempt to fix it by implementing educational programs, academic processes, and promoting the sufficiency of the mind. We think this place is dangerous because it is wayward. Therefore, we will build more correctional facilities, enforce regular discipline and promote the sufficiency of the will. We think this place is dangerous because it is dirty and broken down. Therefore, we pour countless dollars into community development, housing projects and green energy.

But as the years pass by we see our efforts fall desperately short. We remain protected for now, but blood still covers the streets of the most dangerous place in the world. No matter what we do, the lava of lawlessness creeps into our lives. The smell and effects of death begin to eclipse the little bit of hope we have left.

[pullquote]The most dangerous place in the world is not some hood in Chicago or rebel camp in the Middle East. It has nothing to do with race, culture or nationality.[/pullquote] You cannot locate it by looking at a crime index or any other statistical data.

Place your right hand on the left side of your chest and you will have located this place. The most dangerous place in the world is the human heart – yours and mine.

Because of its danger, our natural tendency (as mentioned above) is to run away from it, fight it or fix it. The world is relentlessly committed to this. But we, the Church, must abandon these efforts and look to Jesus to reach this dead, dark and dangerous place with the life, light and warmth of the gospel.

We don’t have to fly away because the gospel removes all fear. Christian, remember that Christ died and we will not ultimately die. No matter what we face in dangerous places – sin, shame, indictments, anger, discomfort, rejection or pain – we won’t ultimately die. Even though we are still sinful, we are righteous by faith in Christ. We are loved and accepted by the Father. He is in control. Therefore, we don’t have to control what people may do or say to us. Because of the Cross, we don’t fear death. Because we don’t fear death, we can reach dead places.

The gospel removes any reason to fight. Because Christ rose again and lives, we also will live. No matter what degree of darkness we face – in our hearts or others – the light of life will always be with us. When people accuse us, we don’t have to fight for ourselves, but can respond in humble honesty and transparency. We can confess sin because that sin was punished in the resurrected Christ. His resurrection assures us that our inheritance is both great and secure (Matt. 5:12). We no longer fight because it is finished.

Finally, the gospel informs us where to direct our efforts. Purity of heart is where blessedness truly lies (Matt. 5:8). [pullquote position=”right”]Christ did not run from us, condemn us, or seek only to fix our mind, behavior or environment. No, he came and dwelt among us as the light of the world.[/pullquote] He spoke life into our dead and dangerous heart. And he is patient with us, fanning the flame he once ignited in our chest, so that we might show others the glory and love of God.

Christ is the most fearless, sacrificial, life-giving Warrior. And he lives within us to continue the redemptive mission of God to reach the most dangerous place in the world.

 

 

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