26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:26-27 (New International Version)
My heart is breaking for all the turmoil in our world – especially in our country. I need to speak to you from that breaking heart.
At the Church of the Warm Heart, we are a diverse bunch. We hold varying beliefs and differing views that you might say hit pretty much every point along a spectrum. I think, though, we can all agree on at least two things: that humanity is created in the image of God and that racism, violence, and looting should have no place in our society.
We would do well to follow the example of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He believed in resisting evil at every turn, but in doing so in a nonviolent way. That was his formula for effecting change in a society that desperately needed it. He was murdered because he was succeeding in bringing about change. Our society today also desperately needs to effect change. I believe that is the goal of most of the protesters across our country.
As Christians, we must condemn killing and other violence (in any form it takes). We must denounce police brutality. We must also denounce violence by protesters against law enforcement officers and others. We must also offer our support, appreciation, and gratitude to all of those – on all sides of these issues – who are working hard to keep the protests from devolving into violence.
As Christians, we must also condemn racism in all its forms. Racism in government, including law enforcement, and other institutions and organizations should be identified and eradicated. Among those institutions and organizations are churches, where racism should be addressed continually. In America, we are never more segregated than we are on Sunday mornings, but any church that discriminates against someone based on race should not disgrace God by calling itself a church.
These goals are so lofty that you may be asking how you can possibly begin to accomplish them. We begin to address racism within ourselves. We must identify it, confess it, and eradicate it.
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6:9-10 (New International Version)
This evil must be identified, confessed, and eradicated, and the process must be repeated over and over again for a lifetime. Racism is so sinister in nature that, once it is eradicated, it sneaks back into individuals and organizations. It demands our constant vigilance. Eradicating racism is not an event, but a lifelong discipline. We cannot grow weary in well-doing.
I have chosen my words today carefully. We have all heard that “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That is a lie. Our words can make a bad situation worse. In these volatile times, I urge you to be careful what you say and what you do. You can make a bad situation worse.
But, let us not grow weary in doing what is right.
Grace and Peace and CALM and Wisdom and Hope,