North Korea bombards South Korea with balloons filled with waste

North Korea bombards South Korea with balloons filled with waste May 31, 2024

As I’m sure you know, former President Donald Trump was found guilty yesterday afternoon in his New York City trial. I responded to the verdict with a Daily Article Special Edition you can read here. As more is known over the coming days, I will offer further reflections.

If you go stargazing toward the eastern horizon about twenty minutes before sunrise this Monday morning, you’ll see a rare sight: Jupiter, Mercury, Uranus, Mars, Neptune, and Saturn will stretch before you, in that order, along a roughly straight line.

You will, however, need a telescope or powerful binoculars to see them all. Otherwise, you’ll have to take the word of astronomers that they’re there.

Another story from the skies has been making headlines as well: hundreds of large white balloons drifted from North Korea into South Korea on Wednesday. They were filled with trash and human waste, retribution for balloons from a South Korean activist group that earlier sent antiregime leaflets into North Korea along with USB drives containing boy band music.

Akin to the planets you will not be able to see Monday morning, the North Korean garbage was not visible until the balloons landed or otherwise exploded, but it was nonetheless real (and revolting).

The story reminded me of a time during the Cold War when some people from East Berlin dumped garbage in West Berlin. West Germans responded by stacking canned goods, bread, milk, and other provisions on the East Berlin side with the sign, “Each gives what he has.”

Their wisdom applies not just to nations but to people, including you and me today.

“Bad ideas have victims”

This week we have been discussing the need for compassionate courage in speaking biblical truth to our broken culture. Let’s take each priority in order.

We will be more compassionate if we remember that many secular Americans have never heard the saving message of Jesus Christ. Like stars we cannot detect and balloons whose contents we cannot see, they don’t know what they don’t know.

I was one of them.

I grew up in Houston, Texas, part of what many would call the “buckle of the Bible belt.” There were churches all around our community, but our family didn’t go to any of them.

Consequently, I had no idea that Jesus died to pay for my sins or that I could ask him to forgive me and become my Lord. Only when two men knocked on our door and invited my brother and me to ride their bus to church did I hear the gospel and eventually trust in Christ.

In my experience across nearly fifty years of ministry, most people who are not Christians have not rejected a saving relationship with Jesus but rather a religion about him. They think we want them to join our church and agree with our social positions.

This is partly because “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). But it is also because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

I often quote my friend John Stonestreet: Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims.

“To stand neutral is to stand for nothing”

We will be more compassionate if we remember the spiritual lostness and eternal peril of those who are without Christ. And we will be more courageous if we remember the stakes, not just for the people we know but for the country we love.

Scripture warns: “The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all nations who ignore God” (Psalm 9:17 NLT). Pastor Paul Powell commented on this text:

“To forget God is to seal our own doom as a nation.”

As a result, he wrote:

America needs you to stand courageously before evil. The sin of silence is all about us. Our generation needs to remember that silence is often golden, but at times it may also be yellow. To stand neutral is to stand for nothing.

He added: “The hope of America is in the great uncommitted majority.”

Playing the violin with a broken wrist

The Revolutionary-era political philosopher Thomas Paine made our point well: “Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation in principle is always a vice.” Let’s choose the moderation of compassion coupled with the courage of principle.

When the task of impacting our broken culture feels too daunting, let’s remember that we work with an omnipotent God. Pastor and writer Erwin Lutzer was right: “When you surrender your will to God, you discover the resources to do what God requires.”

To illustrate: Eighteen-year-old Mary Leahy fell off a farm cart and broke her right wrist two days before she was to compete at the Peterborough Music Festival in Canada. Instead of pulling out of the contest, she enlisted the help of Donnell Leahy, one of the best fiddle players in the country and a musician who toured with Shania Twain. He is also her father.

Mary played the chords with her left hand, while her father handled the bow with his right hand. How did it go? You can watch for yourself here.

Their duet makes my point: As we work, God works.

How will you partner with your Father today?

Friday news to know:

Quote for the day:

“There are three stages in the work of God: Impossible; Difficult; Done.” —Hudson Taylor

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