The cop who killed Michael Brown went free. Protests are taking place all over the United States. My news feed is full of news and reports of this current day event.
This morning I woke up with a heavy heart. I want to stick my head in the sand. I want to look the other way. But I can’t.
I am concerned for God’s people, and I’m also concerned for our nation.
This current event has uncovered an issue in our nation. It’s brought to light issues that need to be talked about and talked about openly.
During our family road trip, we experienced the racial diversity of our beloved nation, and we saw first hand the division that still exists. This issue is real.
Yet, what has been brought to light in the past few days should not be used as an opportunity to prove a point. It should be used as an opportunity to bring healing.
As a nation, we are no longer united under God. We are divided under self. We have become more focused on our individual rights than the good of a people. People created in the image of God.
As Christians, we are called to stand for truth, to stand for justice, to stand for mercy, to stand for good. We stand for all of these things as we proclaim the name of Jesus.
It is time to start trusting in the Word of God again.
Jesus did not come crying aloud in the street. He did not break a bruised reed. He didn’t quench a faintly burning wick. He didn’t even defend himself. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth (Isaiah 42:1-3, Matthew 12:15-21).
He didn’t endure the cross because He was weak. He didn’t suffer the lashes of the whip or taste the trickle of the blood that ran down His face because it wasn’t evil. He did it so the Father would be glorified and His children would be saved (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:3).
As I consider the Michael Brown case in light of the Gospel, I am deeply affected. As Americans, we’re all experiencing this issue in a variety of ways based on our culture, and even our race.
But as Christians, we are united under Christ, and together we should consider how we respond in word and action. This issue is not about black and white. It’s about Christ and His glory.
As Christians, What if We Chose to …
Put away fear
Today, Christians, let us look to the Cross. Let us turn our eyes to Him who saved us.
Because the headline is not Michael Brown Did Not Get Justice.
The headline is not Protesters Cause Traffic Delays on I-24.
The headline is Christ Reigns Supreme.
The headline is Jesus Christ Conquered Sin, Defeated Death, and He is King.
The headline is The Tomb is Empty!
Our first reaction as Christians should not be to act. It should be to pray.
Not because “it’s the least we can do,” but because it is the most important thing we can do!
While Jesus walked the earth, He taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:7-15).
Pray, Christians, for God’s will to be made known on this earth. Pray that His people will do the will of the Father, leaning hard into the Spirit and having courage to obey and follow where He leads us.
“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin…” ~Isaiah 30:1
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He told His disciples to watch and pray that they may not enter into temptation (Matthew 26:41). In what we call the High Priestly Prayer, Jesus said, “I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. Keep them from the evil one” (John 17).
Christians, pray for protection against the evil one. Pray for a vigilant mind. Pray for wisdom.
Be still, quiet your mind, and pray.
For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. ~Isaiah 30:15-16
Nothing good ever come from swift works, but from slow grace, beauty is made from ashes.
Stand on truth
One of the questions in the Westminster shorter catechism is: How do we learn to love and obey God? The answer: In the Bible alone.
The truth is: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The truth is: Jesus’ ways are opposite the world’s.
Jesus says the the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit. He says those who mourn shall be comforted. He says the meek will inherit the earth. He says those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied. He says the merciful will receive mercy. He said the pure in heart will see God and the peacemakers will be called sons of God. He said that the persecuted for righteousness’ sake will inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3-12).
He says the first will be last and the last will be first (Matthew 19:30).
He says that whoever murders will be liable to judgment, but He also says that the one who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment too (Matthew 5:21-26).
He says to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
He says that whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).
Jesus says the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest (Luke 10:2-12).
He says to take His yoke upon us, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29-30).
He says that every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. Whoever is not with Him is against Him, and whoever does not gather with Him scatters (Matthew 12:25-32).
We must stand on truth. We must believe truth. We must pursue truth. We must be united under truth.
Cultural change does not come by throwing stones, burning buildings, or pointing fingers. It comes through personal change. It comes through humility, for it is the humble who will be exalted and the proud who will be made low (Matthew 21:12).
When there is an issue, am I willing to examine myself? Am I willing to turn to God alone? His word alone?
I must let God’s word transform me. Change me. Mold me. Teach me. Correct me.
When I turn to Jesus, I see myself more clearly.
Ultimately, I see a woman who committed the biggest social injustice ever to fall on this land. Jesus was perfect in every way. He had no sin, no guilt, and yet He was persecuted. He was killed. Murdered. While I stood around calling evil good with the masses. Crucify Him! Crucify Him!
We all did. We all committed this heinous crime. We are all deserving of death.
I always want justice, but I don’t want to extend mercy too. What if God did that to me? To you?
The two -justice and mercy – have to go hand in hand. Because we are a fallen people. Because if they never went hand in hand we could not be saved. And that is our model.
Jesus is the way. Jesus is the truth. Jesus is justice. Jesus is mercy. Jesus is the Savior of this world.
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” ~Matthew 9:12-13
Extend our hand and our hearts
My friends, we all want to be loved. The people crying in the streets want to be heard. They want to know they matter. No matter what their words say or actions portray, they’re all saying the same thing – please, just tell me I am worth something.
Christians,we have the answer. Extend your hand of fellowship to your hurting brother and sister, regardless of their color, actions, or words and tell them this.
“You are created in the image of God. You listen to me. You matter. You matter greatly. Your approval, your worth does not come from others. It comes from God who created you! He fashioned you in His likeness. He loves you. I love you. You matter to me.”
Whether we want to admit it or not, the issue of racism is real. It’s not a new issue, so it should not come as a surprise and we shouldn’t pretend it doesn’t exist. We’ve only to read the Old Testament for a moment to realize just how deep rooted this issue is, or read the New Testament writings of Paul as He instructs slaves how to respond to their masters.
Yet Christ came to gather the nations and as His children, we get to make a choice. We get to choose to not go the way of the world. We get to choose to pick up our cross and follow Him.
We have to choose to be the change we want to see in the world. I know that’s totally Ghandi or someone like that, but it’s true. We have to choose to stop the madness.
People are angry. I don’t know about you, but when I get angry, my temptation is to get louder. Yet Jesus says we must get quieter. We must decrease. We must turn the other cheek even when someone else is in the wrong.
The looting, the vandalism, the reason this whole issue is at the forefront is not the central focus. At least it shouldn’t be.
As a Christian, it’s an opportunity to love my neighbor as myself. It’s an opportunity to admit that I don’t have the answers. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge that I’m a white American who has never wanted for anything and who has never encountered a barrier because of the color of my skin.
But I care. I care deeply.
Can we please look past not just the color of our skins, but our actions as well and see what is happening for what it really is? A cry for help. A cry for love. A cry for unity. But people are too angry to use their words right now. Can we choose to put our pride aside? Can we choose to lay down our lives for the Gospel and not our opinions?
To love someone doesn’t mean you agree with everything they are doing. It doesn’t mean you turn your head the other way or tell them it’s okay to do evil things. Evil is wrong. Plain and simple. But I can still choose love. I can still choose to extend my hand in humility to help. I can put my feelings aside when they smack my hand away and say you don’t understand.
You’re right. I don’t. I haven’t been where you are, but can you please help me understand? Can you please let me in? Can you please let me be a sister in Christ?