The current crisis in the USA, not the COVID-19 crisis but the crisis gripping so many communities in this country in the aftermath of a lynching of one black man and the death of another under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer has been on my heart and mind.
I have been asked by several people what I think about it. Yet it doesn't matter what I think.
I have written several small posts however to express what our Lord may think.
None of these are a final solution. They go together. They address racism. The human heart. Hypocricy. Burning and looting.
We have spent our recent Sunday sermons in the Old Testament. One thing we've seen in this series is that God cares about justice and He hears the cries of injustice.
After Cain killed Abel, the Lord confronted Cain,
"What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground."
After the wrongful death of Abel, his blood cried from the ground for justice. The Lord heard. He then dished out justice upon Cain.
In Exodus, when the enslaved Israelites cried out, the LORD called on Moses and said to him,
"I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians" (Exodus 3:7-8).
In these incendiary days following the killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, it is important for people to hear from Christians that God cares about evil and injustice.
Being heard and understood is important. It's hard to have hope or trust when one does not feel heard or understood.
One reason for so much civil unrest seems to be people's belief that nothing is being done about the injustice they abhor! Nobody seems to care about what is happening. Nobody seems to listen.
The apostle James speaks to the power of effective listening.
James 1:19 This you know, my beloved brothers. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
- What if Christians are quick to hear these cries and to listen to the pain and anger and fear with God's merciful heart?
No this isn't THE solution. This won't put an end to the racism or injustice in people's hearts. But what if the act of intentional listening and loving them gives hurting and ignored people hope?
- What if we are slow to speak, we don't argue, but we empathize with their frustration and the sense of inequality that too many experience? What if we use our influence to speak for those whose voices may be ignored and to pray for God's intervention.
- What if we are slow to anger, and those who feel they are treated as second class citizens felt heard and loved by those who represent our Lord who came "to preach the gospel to the poor… to proclaim release to the captives… [and] to set free those who are oppressed"? (Luke 4:18-19).
We cannot insure that no person has a racist heart, but we can teach the truth that God created every person in His own image and likeness; that our Lord opposes hatred and racism and any abuse of power; and that Jesus Christ "purchased for God with [His] blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (Revelation 5:9).