Last week, 2 black men were killed by white policemen in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge, in what some have called an unnecessary use of force. Subsequently, 5 policemen were killed and 11 injured during peaceful protests about the events in MN and LA. In Dallas, armed black snipers took advantage of the protests to incite violence, leading to increased tension between the two groups. Both incidences have been condemned by various parties and yet some have decided to pick and choose sides because in their minds, one death is more justifiable than the other. During such times, instead of resorting to our own understanding, emotions and biases about the issues, what we as Christians need to do is search and understand the heart of the Father about them. So what exactly does the Father say?
First we need to understand that the heart of the Father grieves for EVERY death. No death is pleasing to Him because he created lives and only He has the right to take away life, not man. Whether or not in our eyes, the people deserved it because they appeared thuggish or were resisting or being noncompliant, no person deserves death. On the same token, no man has the right to murder law enforcement agents to justify their anger or frustrations over systematic injustice. No, that is not the way of Christ and the Father does not condone such behavior. Remember, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” [John 3:16-17, MSG]. This was one of the reasons why the Lord Jesus came; to seek and save the lost, because it is not God’s desire that any man perish – even those we feel should perish. Jesus came for mankind; every tongue, tribe, nation and color. The Lord came for one human race, with its varying shades of color.
In response to what has happened, some have said that because of the separation of state and the church, there is very little that the church should and can do. However, scripture is replete with examples of how Jesus handled issues of injustice as well as dealing with issues that straddled the thin line of politics and social activism. Remember the issue of the lady caught in the very act of adultery? Remember how Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of her accusers and exposed their heart concerning the matter? When the issue was brought to Him, He didn’t say “yes, go ahead and stone her because you caught her red handed in the sin of adultery”. Afterall, that is what the law required, no? What the Lord Jesus did was to have compassion on the lady and after He had finished dealing with her accusers, He said to her “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, sir,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more” [John 8:10-11, TLB]. This is how the Master expects us to act in such times and not by our emotions or personal biases towards the accused. Understand and convict yourself that the measure of your love for God is demonstrated and observed in your love for mankind. In 1 John 4:20 [MSG], God says, “If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.”. You cannot say you love the Lord or have the heart of the Master and condone the killing of ANY person, have hate or behave hatefully towards ANYONE regardless of how they look or behave. No, No Sir, No Ma’am, that is not the way of Christ and if you do, then repent because you are not walking with the heart of Christ.
So what should our response and attitude be as Christians in such situations? Such situations call for Christian activism where we stand for the cause of justice; on every scale. The cause of justice begins with not remaining silent when others are being oppressed, and it ends with supporting law enforcement agencies to do their jobs of maintaining peace and justice. Standing up for injustice is part of our Christian responsibility and is not relegated to only when it personally affects us. That is called selfishness. What the Lord is looking for is Christian activism that inconveniences us and yet brings about a positive impact in the lives of others and relieves them of their oppression or injustice. In Isaiah 1:13-17 [MSG], the Lord says, “Quit your worship charades. I can’t stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings— meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You’ve worn me out! I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evil doings so I don’t have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless. With all that is going on, it almost seems like in many quarters of the church and for some Christians, it is business as usual with little or no regard for the increasing tension. Yet the Lord says, “I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.” [Amos 5:21-24, MSG].
If indeed the church is the pillar and ground of truth [1 Timothy 3:15, KJV] and we have been endowed with power from on high, what are we using that power for? Why are we silent on that which seeks to divide and also lead many to hell, as they take matters into their own hands because we refuse to speak up. Many are hurting on every front on these issues and yet we remain silent and say “let’s leave into God’s hand”, when the Lord has given us the power on this earth to do something about it. Fellow brethren in the Lord, the Lord is standing in our midst, He stands in the assembly [of the representatives] of God or as the KJV puts it, “the congregation of the mighty” and this is what He says “Enough! You’ve corrupted justice long enough, you’ve let the wicked get away with murder. You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break; Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them.” [ Psalms 82:2-4, MSG]. Remember that at the end of the day, we must all give account to the Lord for what we did in this body. Therefore, let’s spend our days on positively impacting our society insteading of tearing it apart with senseless violence and murder, be it black-on-black, black-on-white, white-on black or white-on-white. All of these are EVIL!
Truly, it is not about how we feel or what we think about the situation. Neither is it about white or black, accused or police. If we will all for a moment put our emotions and biases aside and really listen to what the Lord is saying, then we would know that it is possible to be pro-life and not be anti-police and be pro-police and not be anti-life. It is possible to condemn police brutality and still be pro-police or be pro-police and still condemn police brutality. Why do we have to choose, when both matter to God.