The events of the last few weeks have brought great turmoil to our nation. Even the most hardened among us could not watch the videos, broadcast in living color, showing the deaths of two African-American men shot by police. My heart aches for their families. Both men were fathers and leave behind children who now face life without them.
At the same time, my heart aches for the police officers involved—one an African-American and the other a woman. I cannot even fathom what they must feel. No honorable police officer goes to work expecting to shoot another human being. Every day, police officers lay their lives on the line to protect our communities. Over the last several months, many of them left home for their shift, never to return because they took a bullet protecting us. Their children now face life without a father or mother.
Notice that on both sides of the equation the result is the same—people, families, and the community all lose. Through these events, hatred rises and racial divides grow deeper. There are always those people waiting to point fingers and turn the events into opportunities to push their ideological divide. If we are not careful, the radicals of this world will win the day. Bitterness, anger and violence will prevail.
Rightfully, people on both sides of the divide are calling for justice, and this is a right call. We desire that truth be found, and where wrong has occurred, whether by citizen or police, the scales of justice should be balanced. Where punishment is right and due, let justice be assigned. The wheels of justice grind slowly—that is a true fact, not just platitude. Patience must stand tall.
Justice must not be influenced by race or position. In America, no one person deserves more justice than another. The vast majority of us believe in justice and expect the scales of justice to be blind. Race nor occupation should rise to add weight that tips the scale. For this end, we must pray and work.
The systemic racial issue in America is multi-faceted. The roots of racism run deep and in both directions. To solve this issue will require level heads and open hearts; platitudes will only frustrate. Level-headed politicians can help bring us together, but they can also exacerbate the core issues that push people apart with vitriolic blame games laden with jabs at the opposing party.
I am convinced the answer to racism does not lie with Democrats nor Republicans. Politicians do have a role to play but, by nature, they come to the table divided. However, the solution must come from humble people who bring broken hearts to the only One who can bring people together. The greatest opportunity to bring death to racism and let love of fellow man arise lies in the church of the Living God.
The people of God can bring healing to the racial divide when they demonstrate the way of their Savior. Consider these truths. In God’s family, there is only one race—the chosen race (I Peter 2:9). The children of the King come in all skin colors, but only one blood line—the blood of Jesus. Spiritual DNA markers indicate we have the same Father and Elder Brother. Christians may come in a kaleidoscope of colors, but the family resemblance is undeniable.
As a child, my parents often told me, “Son, blood is thicker than water. Families stick together.” Folks, this is the time we must reach out to one another. Let our hearts rejoice in the uniqueness of our skin color, heritage and family ties, and tear down barriers of divide between us. We must intentionally connect with our estranged Christian family members who don’t look like we look.
If we are to become healers rather than dividers, our reach must extend beyond the church. Together—red, yellow, black and white—we must march into our confused and fermenting communities to apply the balm of Gilead. We must link our arms together and replace the storm with peace from the Prince of Peace. In the midst of tribulation, anger and frustration, we can embrace our broken communities, unified as one, to apply grace, mercy and love. No matter how deep the spiritual darkness, we can share Gospel light. Into hopelessness, we can demonstrate and point to the Hope of the world.
Let the church arise. Let us stop slapping the hands of our brothers and sisters and rather hold their hands. Let the world see a church filled with love for all and undivided by race. By the way, we might as well practice for Heaven. One day, we shall gather together around the throne as the redeemed from every tribe, tongue and ethnicity to worship our Redeemer and King.