Darkness Must Be Overcome By Light
The past ten days has been very difficult for our nation and for us as a people. The horrific injustice against George Floyd has affected everyone in different ways. Emotions are high as many of us feel broken by his murder, as well saddened by the outbreak of rioters. It has been stirring up pain, anger, frustration, fear, worry, and hate. So how do we respond as a church, as a people, as those who have committed our lives to Christ? We love. Jesus called everyone to love. It doesn’t matter what our race, our color, or our nationality is. As followers of Christ, we love. The solution to this evil is not more evil, it is more love. I have been reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr.’s words:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Romans 12:18 also gives us direction at this time:
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
So let me share some ways WE can love at this time.
LOVE BREAKS FOR ONE ANOTHER
There are many in our nation affected by racial injustice who are hurting right now. There are many people in our church that are hurting right now. There are wounds from the past that have been reopened due to Floyd’s murder. The hurt that others experience should break our heart. Romans 12:15 tells us to “weep with those who weep”. If we know people who are affected by this, let it break our hearts. Let us grieve with them. This is where love, agape love, the love that comes from Jesus, always starts.
How can we understand and know people are hurting? We listen. Our priority shouldn’t be what’s on the news, or what’s on the internet, or views posted on social media. Instead, our priority should be listening to the hearts and voices of the hurting. Do you know someone who could be hurting right now because of racial injustice? Call them and talk with them. Really listen to them. Ask them how they are feeling about what is taking place in our country. We should not let the evil of rioting and looting overshadow the justifiable pain that many are feeling right now, especially those who have been personally affected by racism. Remember, Love doesn’t seek to be right, it seeks to listen and understand. Romans 12:16b. says “never be wise in your own sight”. Hold back from the urge to just share your opinions on the issue. Rather, listen and love. It takes humility to listen, but that is where God’s love flows. One of my favorite quotes is by Author and Pastor Peter Scazzero. He said, “loving and listening is so similar, that the common person doesn’t recognize the difference.”
LOVE SEEKS HEALING AND UNITY
I am thankful that we have come a long way toward racial unity within our nation. We can celebrate the diversity and unity many of us enjoy in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and churches. HOWEVER, there is still a great need for more healing in our country! I was impacted by what my dear friend Barry Brown said in regard to recent events stirring up the deep pain of racial injustice. “This incident has been like someone shaking a rug out. When the rug was lying on the ground, it looked clean, but now that it is shaken, all the dust and dirt is coming out.” Not only must we pray for healing, we must also be open to non-judgmental dialogue, loving through listening. Give others opportunities to share how they are feeling. As our church seeks opportunities for racial healing , I ask that you join with us in prayer and in action, believing God will bring us through this difficult time. Remember Romans 12:18, “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” If we desire peace, then we must also desire healing!
Basic reminders of courtesy and love
With humility and love, let me share a few basic reminders:
- Posting views, opinions, and feelings about this on Facebook/Social media usually does not make things better, but more often can make things worse. Having heartfelt dialogue one on one in person is a much healthier and Godly method.
- Be careful not to associate peaceful protestors with rioters/looters. There are many peaceful protestors who are standing against injustice and using their God-given right in a an appropriate, honorable way.
- When you hear “Black lives matter”, don’t respond to it by saying “All lives matter”. We know that! It’s insensitive and uncaring to many. And just because people might use that phrase doesn’t mean they are associating with the political group.
- Embrace awkwardness and difficult conversations. Having difficult conversations about race can be uncomfortable at times, but embrace it. Invite the Holy Spirit into the conversations, and start everything with prayer!
- Remember there is only one ultimate solution to the hurt, pain, evil, and injustice, and that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need the truth of Jesus to shine into our nation now more than ever before. Let us apply His word in this situation and in every conversation we have!
Thank you church! Love you more than you know. – Pastor Devin