It’s been a hard few days in the U.S.
My head is still spinning from the news erupting of two black men killed by police in Baton Rouge and Minnesota and then the assassination of police officers in Dallas.
It’s been a hard few days…again.
News outlets, Facebook, Twitter, blogs…it all seems to come down to black and white. But as I’m fond of asking, “What’s the question behind the question?” What’s the issue behind the issue?
As a white pastor, it’s required of me to speak on these issues because too many Christians—on both sides—are sometimes responding in unchecked emotional ignorance. My own unchecked emotional ignorance is why it has taken me a few days to post. Raw emotion rarely solves anything.
Let me give you a few things to chew on:
- Justice is not color-blind. Black men are six times more likely to be arrested and convicted than white men. It’s okay not to believe me. Look it up. And fixing this is complicated. It’s not as simple as “stop breaking the law!” or “stop picking on us!” Issues rarely have “A/B solutions”.
- This creates unimaginable (for a white person) fear and tension within the black community. If you’re not black, imagine living with the constant concern that every time you pass a police officer, you might get pulled over. Or if you’re walking through the “wrong” neighborhood, you might get asked questions by police.
- We need to support the 99% of law enforcement out there doing their job to protect all of us. I have family members, friends, and church members (past and present) in law enforcement. It’s a tough job. Divorce is much higher among law enforcement than any other field because of the stress. Unfortunately, the 99% don’t make most news stories.
- As Americans, we need leadership from our president, our governors, and our mayors. This isn’t a “law” issue; it’s a justice issue. We need leadership, not politics. We need to be led out of this, not deeper into it. Political leadership has a God-ordained responsibility to govern well. We need to pray for our governmental leaders.
- As Christians, we need leadership from our pastors. We need to address the root cause of all of this: sin. We must understand the issues of our culture ourselves and teach the truth: the only hope is Jesus. Pastors (like me) need to speak up in Christ-honoring ways to defend those without a voice—even when it’s not “politically correct” to do so.
- As Christians, we must remember this world is broken. Sin has destroyed us completely. Genesis 3 teaches us The Fall broke the relationship between humanity and God, humanity and each other, and humanity with creation. It means we are broken beyond repair and there’s nothing we can do to fix ourselves.
Romans 8:22-25 reminds us:
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Laws won’t change things. Paranoia won’t change things. Uncontrolled rage won’t fix things. Revenge won’t fix things. Facebook won’t fix things. Hiding the guilt of the innocent or making the innocent guilty won’t change things.
As cliché as it sounds, only Jesus can fix things. In humanity’s complete “lostness”, we can’t fix it ourselves. Again, we are broken beyond repair apart from the Lord’s grace. It is His grace giving us hope.
We’re all part of Adam’s race (cf. Genesis 1-2). We’re human. There are different ethnicities, but only one race. And it all stands in desperate need of redemption.
We are not called to hate each other; we are called to change the world. Jesus didn’t change us with hate. He changed us with a love so great He laid down His life so He could live His life through us.
Brothers and sisters, let’s be the change the world needs.