Once more has a senseless loss crashed down upon us the torrential reality of fear, mistrust, and disharmony in our country. The words, “I can’t breathe”, have become a catchphrase to symbolically express the weight of perceived oppression and its relentless effect of suffocating a people, men and women who are created in the image of God and, through Christ, are my brothers and sisters.
The tragedy of George Floyd’s death, the affliction of hatred, and the anguish of racism have yet again moved the people of our nation to rallying points that can either help us move forward to paths of healing and hope, or can be the building blocks of relational catastrophe. Inasmuch as this allows people’s minds and hearts to change toward one another in that people are regarded as equals no matter their skin color or ethnicity, then maybe Mr. Floyd’s death will not be in vain, although his family and friends will not easily be comforted.
I fear that what healing has occurred in the past is in danger, but it is imperative that vestiges of inhumanity toward one another be unveiled and dealt with. Justice is essential here. And God is a god of justice Who does not close His eyes to sin and evil in our society or in our hearts.
I pray for healing – not bandaids. I hope for reconciliation – not platitudes. I look to my brothers and sisters in Christ in love and hold my arms out to them with my mind drawn to the Bible’s explanation of the nature of the oneship I share with them in Jesus that is founded on something holy and perfect: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body… all were made to drink one Spirit…. If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Corinthians 12:13a, 13c, 26 ESV).
It is not evil to stand for justice. Quite the opposite actually. It is not wrong to cry out for correction of what is wrong. It is essential that we do so. But let us be careful to not catch the viral infection of hate. Social distancing in this regard is perhaps more important than with Covid-19. And if we find that we have caught the bug of hate, bitterness, or fear, let us seek the healing that only God’s Spirit can bring and allow Him to cleanse our hearts and souls with the waters of His Word.
The Bible moves from the remarks referenced above regarding our unity as the body of Christ (in 1 Corinthians chapter 12) to the “still more excellent way” of love in chapter 13. Here is the healing we need even as we stand for justice.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, 13 ESV).
As a Christian, it is not an option to love even those different from me. It is who I am. If you are a Christian, then it is not an option for you either. It is the outflow of the presence of the Savior you say you follow. Tend well your heart, your attitude, your words and deeds. Let them flow from a heart filled with the love of God.
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com.” Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed are the work of the author.)