“Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” - Acts 10:34b-35 (ESV)
The Bible is clear in that God’s love is for all. Peter explained in Acts that God does not show partiality - period. God sent His son Christ to die for the sins of the world – my sins and your sins. There is no qualifier to His grace. It is a gift to all whom believe in His son.
Put simply, all people matter to God.
How are we to react when the world displays a disregard for human lives? How are we, Christians, to respond to racism and social profiling?
I certainly don’t have the answers. I look to the Bible and I see two recurring themes:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” - Matthew 5:43-45a (ESV)
One, we pray. Jesus’ call in Matthew 5 is to pray for those who persecute us. It is only God that is going to change hearts, and we should pray that God will do that. One way we live into our calling as children of God is to pray for our enemies.
“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” - Isaiah 1:16-17 (ESV)
Two, we have a responsibility and a call to action. Our responsibility is to not just say and do the right things in service on Sunday mornings but to actively live out a love for all that can be clearly seen by the world around us.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 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. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” - Romans 12:9-21 (ESV)
Paul’s encouragement to us in Romans is prayerful patience combined with actions of love. We won’t be able to change every heart or fix every injustice. But that doesn’t give us a reason to be apathetic. As humanity fills the streets our call remains to petition the Lord, constantly and repeatedly. We are to surround our brothers and sisters with our actions of love and solidarity. We are to seek the Lord’s will for our enemies so that God will change hearts and build His kingdom.
As a church, we must stand against injustice and call for change and accountability. We pray for peaceful demonstrations leading to measurable change. We call upon all of us to invite the Holy Spirit to mold us to love and act more like Jesus. And we pray that God, through it all, will be glorified. God, thank you for the mighty work you have done in your Son, and for the mighty work you continue to do in building your kingdom.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 (ESV)
Thomas Creech, Elder