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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - How Should Christians Respond to Violence in the World

James Meehan - How Should Christians Respond to Violence in the World

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    James Meehan - How Should Christians Respond to Violence in the World
TOPICS: Culture Makers, Violence

Whitney: Alright, so let's start off with our first topic. We're talking violence. So, far in the start of 2023 it's been very heartbreaking. So the questions that we wanna ask is like what do we do during these times of where we just feel like we're surrounded by violence? How do we heal? And then how can we make a change? What are your thoughts?

James Meehan: You watching this video have felt this...

Whitney: Absolutely.

James Meehan: Long before we've talked about it. We live in a day and age where access to information about traumatic events is higher than it's ever been.

Whitney: Right.

James Meehan: And so there's almost not a day that goes by where we don't hear about something really horrible and depressing. And we could allow that to move us into a mind state of being really down and depressed. But as followers of Jesus we're called to do something a little bit different.

Whitney: Right.

James Meehan: And so what we want to talk about is how we can process our emotions, how we can talk with other people, and how we can actually be a part of the solution. Because as these conversations around these increasing levels of violence are taking place what you'll notice is it often devolves into people over here yelling about what they think the solution is. People over here yelling about what they think the solution is and nobody actually taking steps to make a difference.

Whitney: That's good.

James Meehan: And for those of us as followers of Jesus, we aren't waiting on our political leaders to fix the problem because we believe that the greatest solution that this world has ever seen was revealed 2000 years ago in the person of Jesus. We believe that his spirit is alive in us. Whether you're 12, 17, 24, or 32, you can make a difference because the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead is living in you. A good friend of mine, Vince Parker, introduced me to four really helpful questions that we can ask ourselves and each other to process our emotions. Question number one, what are you mad about? Like what are you mad about?

Whitney: Hmm.

James Meehan: And then just answer the question. Because until you can name your emotion you're never gonna actually be able to work through it. Question number two, what are you sad about? Like what really does make you sad?

Whitney: Yeah.

James Meehan: About this whole situation or maybe even just something that's happening in your life personally. What are you anxious about? What is causing you to stay up at night worried about what tomorrow might bring or might not bring? And then finally, what are you happy about?

Whitney: Yes.

James Meehan: Because even in dark times there are still glimmers of hope that we can hold onto. And so what I would invite you to do, as a follower of Jesus, is to ask yourself those questions, and to ask the people in your life those questions. Because unprocessed emotions never die. They just sit there and fester and they eat away at us underneath the surface.

Whitney: So when we have these dark times, what if you see like one of your friends going through a dark time? And I know it can be kind of a struggle when you're close to somebody and it's easy to kind of go down that path.

James Meehan: Yeah.

Whitney: What is something that we can do to help keep us from going down that path but also keep our friends that are close to us from going down?

James Meehan: There's like this really cheesy old school youth ministry illustration where you stick somebody up on a chair, imagine somebody standing on a chair...

Whitney: Okay.

James Meehan: And you've got somebody on the ground and the whole idea is the person on the chair has to try to lift up the person on the ground.

Whitney: Oh goodness.

James Meehan: It's really hard.

Whitney: Yeah.

James Meehan: And then the person on the ground it's their turn to try to pull the person on the chair off the chair.

Whitney: Ooh.

James Meehan: And it's actually pretty easy 'cause you just gotta knock 'em off balance.

Whitney: Right.

James Meehan: And the same concept is true when it comes to us ministering to our friends is that if we're in a healthy place...

Whitney: Yeah.

James Meehan: We're on a chair.

Whitney: Yeah.

James Meehan: They're in a not healthy place. They're on the ground. To lift them up is really hard. Like maybe you're jacked and you lift a ton so you might be better in this specific analogy, but for all of us what's even more helpful than trying to do it on our own is to make sure there's other people with us.

Whitney: That's true.

James Meehan: Because if you got four people on chairs...

Whitney: Yeah.

James Meehan: Lifting up one person on the ground it's way easier to lift them up. And if you got four people on chairs that are all holding onto each other, it's a lot harder to get pulled down. And so our recommendation to you would be to make sure that you are surrounded with great people.

Whitney: That's true.

James Meehan: As you're ministering to others, who is there ministering to you? It could be a friend, it could be family member, trusted adult, it could be your switch leader here on Wednesday night. Could be just somebody in your church that you know cares about you and loves you. And what I would do is not wait for them to ask those questions we talked about.

Whitney: Yeah.

James Meehan: But go to them and say, "Hey, I'm having a hard time and I really wanna process my emotions. Here's what I'm mad about, here's what I'm sad about. Here's what's making me anxious. And here's where I actually have some joy in my life that I don't wanna lose inside of all of the dark things that are happening".

That's really good. And I think when you said something like, who's ministering to you, I also think about like how much of an impacts social media has on us.

Dang. Yeah.

And even though you're talking about like, oh yeah. is who's your small group leader or your teacher but also people, your influencers that you follow on Instagram or TikTok, they can also be ministering to you in a negative way. So it's like if you see that and it's like, okay you're getting this negative feeling, or maybe after watching a video or a seeing a post that they made and it's making you think, oh, I'm fired up about this now. Or I wanna be a certain way.


Maybe it's time to take a step back and rethink the people you are following and the people that are, are commenting your stuff and making sure that you're filling yourself up in a positive way rather than feeding into those those high negative topics.

It was Jesus himself who said Matthew chapter five verse seven, "that blessed are the peacemakers".


Not the side takers.


"Because they will be called children of God". And for us, we are children of God because of what Jesus has done for us. The best thing we can do is work to bring people together.


Which brings us kind of to the third part of this conversation, which is great. So what do we do?


Well we do what we can right where we are with the resources, the relationships, the tools that we have.


And so for you as a young person, guess what? Every act of violence that is committed is born out of people dealing with some issues. Now, the primary issue is this thing that we call sin this disease of selfishness that causes us to hurt others and disobey God. And the only solution to sin is Jesus. So the best thing that you can do wherever you are is be the light of Jesus in your community. In addition to that, like there are people who are hurting and they need to know that they're not alone and that they're loved. And so the more that you can look to others the same way that Jesus looked to you to actually be a friend when they're in that time of need the better that you can help them get out of the dark place and into a much more healthy and stable place. And then the other thing I'll say is that if you hear something from somebody that is concerning like it sounds like they're gonna hurt themself or somebody else...


Then don't keep that to yourself. Share it with somebody. And even though it might be scary because you feel like you might be breaking their trust it is way better to have to apologize to somebody that, Hey, I said this thing than I knew it was gonna upset you but I was really worried about you.


It's way better to have to apologize to them for doing that, than to feel all of the regret of not having said anything.


And I know a lot of people who feel that regret and wish they could do something differently. And all of this is like a really heavy and big topic, but that's why we're talking about it.


Because we know that it's affecting you and we want to help you be a culture maker. Somebody who is influencing the culture we're in as a follower of Jesus. Bringing light into dark places. And so far 2023, for a lot of us, has felt like a really dark year.

It really has.

But it doesn't have to stay that way.


Speaking of a not light subject, talking about sports ball.

Oh yeah, AKA-

Football. And the reason why I say it's not a light subject is because I know people who get close...


To inflicting violence on their TV.


When things aren't going their team's way.

It's a game.

I'm not gonna name any names, but there might be somebody on the other side of this camera recording this right here. Who if their team wasn't winning they might get a little upset.


True or false cameraman?


Alright, tell us about Sports Ball.


What's happening?

The Bengals lost to the Chiefs.


I thought the Bengals were gonna take it all honestly.

Yeah. My son watches a lot of Daniel Tiger.

Oh yeah.

Bengal Tigers. So.

What's your Daniel tiger quote?

"When you're feeling mad and you want to roar, take a deep breath then count to four". 1, 2, 3, 4.

Hey, for real though. Let us know who you think is going to be the champion. Let us know in the comments below who's your team, or if your team's already outta the running and you just wanna tell us which team you don't wanna win.


That's okay too, but be nice.

Also, I wanna know, what's your favorite Super Bowl snack? That's what I love with the Super Bowl. I'm like, okay, it's quesos, the pigs in a blanket, the...

Whoa. That sounds amazing.


Oh, it's so good. All right to moving on. Did you ever watch 'That 70's Show'?

Of course

You did?


I never watched it. Now they have a spinoff called 'That 90's Show', and I actually watched it. I don't watch TV, and yesterday I decided to pick something and it was this show.

Was it good?

Yes it was.

When I lived through the nineties, I was... I ended my time in the nineties as a five year old, so...


Don't really remember much of it. So I can't tell you how accurate it was or wasn't, but I feel like based off of all of the nineties stuff that's making a comeback.


This show seems accurate to that at least.

Yeah. I enjoyed it. It's very like in your face.

Little edgy?

It is edgy.

Like the nineties

That's a great word.

Like it was like the nineties

But I mean...

As a nineties kid, I can attest, it was, I was a pretty edgy five year old.

Oh my God.

Yeah. I agree. But it was, it's in your face, but it talks about like a lot of the real topics that we go through today, but it's definitely they don't hide anything.


Or shy away from it.

So here's a question, should you watch it? Talk to your parents.

I would definitely ask. Say, Hey, do you know maybe watch it together.

That's great.

Because then if you have questions, your mom or dad's right there and they can definitely sit down and have those hard conversations. Well, no, they don't have to be hard. They're only hard if you make it hard.

And here's the thing, every time we watch a show what we know we're getting is a theatrical version of reality.

That's very true.

And so there's gonna be some really real elements that you can probably resonate with that might set up great conversations with friends or parents. And there's gonna be other stuff that's just ridiculous. Just because you see it on TV doesn't mean you need to do it in real life. It's TV, it's not real life

For real.

So be wise, think critically...


And let the good news of Jesus guide the way you live. Not some show, even if it's fitting into the whole trend of the nineties, making a comeback.

Social trends, let's see here. Individuals can now earn a college credit through Arizona State University by watching YouTube videos through a newly launched program called Study Hall.

How many of you are excited to watch educational YouTube videos?


Listen, here's the thing though. The idea sounds really awesome especially because it's significantly more affordable than what most college classes would be. And anything to make education more affordable and accessible, I think is usually a good thing.


I do think it's gonna be interesting though because the idea sounds really cool in theory, but in practice, I don't go to YouTube wanting to watch videos about school.


I go wanting to watch people talk about their favorite fantasy books, people reviewing the newest video games, and really jacked dudes working out. Those are my, those are my things.

I think it'll be a good fit for some people though.

For sure. Yeah.

Like some people who have like social anxiety or anything like that, I think it'll be great for them. But I couldn't, I couldn't do it.

Just tying it all back to the very beginning. We are existing in a year that the level of violence is higher than it's been in previous years. And we can sit back and allow that to make us fearful, or we can respond in faith. Trusting that God is good, that he is working and that he has called each and every one of us to be a part of his plan to make things better to be people who bring justice.


And so the one action step I would give to you is to work through those four questions we talked about answer those yourselves, and then have a conversation with somebody this week asking those questions to them. Because when we follow Jesus we know that's not just about us. We are meant to help serve others. So those questions were, what are you angry about? What are you sad about? What's making you anxious? And what are you happy about? Take some time to answer those questions and maybe even write your responses in the comments down below so that we can actually encourage one another.


And be aware of what's going on in each other's lives and be praying for each other. And then take some time this week to ask those questions to somebody else, because as you help them process through their emotions, you are gonna help them move to a healthier place so that all together we can be a part of bringing some really good news to our world.

That's really great.

Alright, well, thank you so much for joining us this week on Culture Makers. We'll be back next week until then make sure you like, subscribe, comment down below, peace.


Sports Ball, Eagles.
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