When I got home today, I heard about another incident involving a black man and a white police officer. There are a lot of different things being said, and there will be a lot more things said I am sure. No matter how you comment, there are going to be those that disagree or even misunderstand what you might be trying to say.
I just began re-reading a book by Leroy Barber titled Embrace: God’s Radical Shalom for a Divided World. In this book he recounts the tragic killing of eight people at the Emmanuel AME Church in South Carolina. He admits he was stunned as he heard family member after family member say “You took something very precious from me...but I forgive you, may God have mercy on your soul.” “You hurt a lot of people, but I forgive you. May God have mercy on you.” And from one woman, “I’m a work in progress and I acknowledge that I’m angry. We have no room for hate. I pray God on your soul.”
Jesus tells us to love our enemies. And even if we are unwilling to love our enemies, God’s love can still win our enemies and leave us...well, lost. Case in point is the story of Jonah. He hated the Ninevites. He wanted to see them destroyed, yet God provided them salvation, and well, we aren’t sure of how Jonah’s heart ended up. This is all I know, the book of Jonah and many other things in the Bible clearly show us that God’s love, mercy and grace have no boundaries.
As Barber puts it, “there is no such thing as a ‘Godforsaken’ place.” In our world of slogans, “black lives matter,” “Blue lives matter,” and then someone getting the group together to “#Alllivesmatter”. Well guess what? God said that a long time ago.
I don’t dare guess how this incident will turn out, but here is what I suggest: Don’t get caught up in the malicious bantering back and forth that is sure to happen. Instead pray God’s mercy on every soul. Admit you’re angry, but don’t allow room for hate – instead forgive. And pray, pray that the hard-hearted racists will come to Christ. Pray for the broken neighborhoods that turn out gangs. Pray that we don’t prejudge people because of our prejudice. And pray that when a hate crime is done, or an injustice committed, that we can know Christ and be like His followers from Emmanuel AME Church, and we can forgive and still offer the mercy of Jesus. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy...on ME. – Barry
Published on Thursday, June 4, 2020 @ 12:59 PM EDT