When I first got to Philly, I found myself getting irritated and annoyed by some of the actions and attitudes of the residents. Even now, I get irritated by some of the things I see. During my first couple of weeks, I remember sitting at the Gallery with my sis Tiffany and she gave me some advice that has been surfacing a lot lately — When you see these types of behaviors, think about why they do it.
I would say that the residents of Philadelphia feel as though they have nothing to live for. They’re not afraid to die, afraid to kill (obviously, with a 320 murder count)… I can’t begin to count how many times I have swerved to avoid hitting someone defiantly slowly walking across a busy street, looking at oncoming cars as if to say, “I wish you would”… 15 year old looking females with tight and revealing clothes, strutting on self visualized runways, hoping to attract male attention… parents letting their 4 and 5 year old children play outside at night while they’re inside doing whatever. When I see this, Tiff’s words come back to me and I just have to remind myself to peep the mindset. Why do they kill ? Why do they walk in front of speeding cars ? Why do they want male attention ? Why do they let their children do what they want ? Why do they ride bikes in lanes of oncoming traffic at night time wearing all black ?
The answer that I have been meditating on a lot concerning these citizens ? Hope and rebellion. They have lost hope in various things… life and self respect being 2 of those things… and because of this lost hope, they rebel against their Creator, thinking they’re, in a sense, avenging themselves when they are only storing up more and more wrath.
I’ve been praying for Philly, praying that the Lord would win this city to Himself, that He would save them from and to Himself. It’d be so awesome to see it… especially in light of my reading of Romans 1 lately. Just looking at verses 18 – 32 especially… I was talking to some sisters about what the Lord had shown me during my study time.
The Greek word for the ‘gave them up’ is paradidomi, an extremely intense word, and when used in the Bible usually refers to a severe judgment, punishment, or imprisonment. God gives those people up to their sins 3 times. All through the book of Matthew, it’s used such as in 4:12 and 5:25
Because they exchanged God’s incorruptible glory for man’s corruptible image, God gives them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, then to dishonorable passions, then to a a debased mind … I look at these people and think, wow you just don’t know what you’re doing! Stop! C.S. Lewis has this quote where he says:
The lost enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded and are therefore self enslaved.
I get nervous for the residents and reading Romans has given me a)a new perspective on Philadelphia dwellers and b)given me an urgency to get God’s gospel out.
I’ve been peeping the mindset and it’s a dangerous one.