Our nation has changed over the past seven days… again. Our nation has moved toward a deeper divide racially than we have seen since the volatile ’60s. And while none of us want to admit that terrorism is winning the war against America, fear is. As a result of the events this past week in Dallas, our nation has moved further from unity than ever. We are suspicious of one another… and fearful.
Politicians CANNOT fix this. Their job is to protect the citizens of our nation but WE must be the solution to this awful circumstance. WE must change how we think, how we decide and how we act. The answer is not to buy better guns or even to create harsher laws to prevent the purchase of guns.
The answer is to change the hearts and minds of the people who make up this nation. Stopping hatred and prejudice and the need for vengeance and retaliation is a spiritual battle; not a political one. It requires an intervention from the God we have asked to leave us alone. And unfortunately, we are seeing signs that He has honored our request.
But as I have advocated in the past few weeks from the pulpit and from these blog posts, it is GOD’S PEOPLE who must return to Him first. It is our responsibility as the churches of our land, as the Christian conscience of our nation, to begin to live what we believe and to model what we would like to see others do.
So how do we as Christians respond to the events of the last few days and of the divisions that have deepened between us?
- We can pray. We must pray for our nation. If we spent twice as much time praying about our problems as a nation as we spend lamenting about them perhaps God would be moved to intervene in power and glory.
- We model racial harmony and reconciliation. We need to stop being fearful of others who are different than we are in color, nationality and clothing. We should watch our language around our lost neighbors as we talk about “the white man” or “the black man.” We are just… men. Build relationships cross-culturally. Celebrate those who are different than you are. WE are all just people… same dreams, same hopes, same fears. We share a common heritage… the human race. We are ALL created in the image of God… His stamp abides on all of us. And when we take a life or advocate the taking of any human life, we have taken something that God values deeply.
- We stop making decisions that are fear-driven. We have allowed fear to make us do things that were unthinkable to us five years ago. Reach out to people you don’t know. Fight your fears. Bo Jackson, the athlete, tweeted the night of the Dallas shootings, “Do something kind for a complete stranger tonight before you go to bed. Our world needs that right now.” And so it does.
- We can refuse to allow bitterness, anger and rage to control us. Nowhere is it justified for us to seek to “even the score” for injuries and wrongs done to us, whether to people we know or people we don’t. We must recognize bitterness on a personal level or a corporate one will always lead us to war… not peace, to injustice… not justice. “The wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20)
Days like these test and reveal who we really are as a nation… and as individuals. They will serve as a catalyst to make us bitter… or as a cause to make us better. Our hope must be that we can now say, “enough.” That we can learn to respect people who are of different races, nationalities and stop allowing fear and misunderstanding to drive us. We can respect those who serve us by wearing uniforms as first-responders and police officers and pray for them that there will never be a reason for them again to attend the funeral of a fallen comrade.
Enough. God, it is enough. May America be great again, not because of our economy or our military prowess. May we be great again because we are”One nation, under GOD… INDIVISIBLE… with LIBERTY and JUSTICE for ALL!”
And may God have reason to bless America once again.