By now you’ve heard the news stories about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend. Once again, we are confronted with the reality we are a divided nation. Can I offer persepctives as you think about Charlottesville?
- Jesus said to pray for your enemies. We are doing Jesus’s work when we condemn racism. We leave his work undone if we do not pray for our enemies. Pray for James Alex Fields who drove his car into the crowd, killing Heather Heyer. Pray for God’s love to drive hate from his heart. Pray for Richard Spencer, a leader for the alt-right movement. Pray for God to call him to Jesus’s side. Pray for others who find a twisted hope in the belief of white supremacy.
- The core of Christian teaching is “In Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ… (Galatians 3:28).” Every human being needs Jesus. Once a human being accepts God’s gift of grace, he or she becomes a brother or sister in Christ. Skin color doesn’t matter.
- Racism and hatred are defeated by the strong determination of Jesus followers to love our neighbors as ourselves.
- “Let not many of you become teachers… because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1).” People who teach hate will be judged by God.
- Events like this should cause a pause. We must examine our hearts to see if there is an bigotry, any prejudice, any profiling. If it is there, we must confess, ask forgiveness and ask God to teach us to love our brothers and sisters.
- I now understand a new dimension of the commandment, “You shall not make a graven image in the form of anything in heaven above or earth below…” People attach meanings to statues, beyond the original intent of the statue. Now people are worshiping the monuments. You worship something when you allow it to set the agenda for your life. Sounds like what happened in Charlottesville.
- People are attracted to the alt-right movement because they feel like no one understands them. I wonder if Jesus followers have even made an effort to understand them, and envelope them with the love of Jesus?
- Acts of Congress, speeches by the President, and political commentary does not change a human soul. Jesus does.
- Our country is divided. Asking the other side to change their mind does not bring people together. Serving each other in the name of Jesus just might heal our land.