A Pastor’s Thoughts About The Terrible Violence In American Cities Today
I was quite upset when I watched the video of George Floyd’s brutal murder at the hands of a police officer. There is no way to justify what this police officer or the other officers with him did in their conduct towards George Floyd. I have such a mixture of thoughts and emotions about what is now transpiring in our nation a week later.
First, there is an element of racism that needs to be acknowledged in our nation. It’s been here since our founding and is driven by certain people with prejudiced attitudes towards others. I cannot begin to understand what it must be like to be a black person who has to deal with prejudicial attitudes and actions as they go about their normal life. I know it’s real because I talk to my black friends and they tell me of their experiences. It’s heartbreaking. And, we need to let this dialogue happen. For me, it’s important that I listen and show that I care about what they have experienced. How about “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2 – NLT).
Next, there is nothing wrong with public, civil, and peaceful demonstrations about things that affect us. The demonstrations after George Floyd’s death help bring attention to the problem of racial prejudice so that society and leaders will hopefully hear and be motivated to bring about change. Thank God that we live in a nation that affords us the right to free speech, and the right to assemble, and the right to voice our thoughts in public.
But now, because of the violence perpetrated by a few, the attention has been taken away from the real issues. Peaceful protests have been hijacked by anarchists that have been deployed to many of our major cities are threatening our peaceful way of life, and are seeking to divide and conquer us as a nation. They are seeking to forever change the USA. I think that our President did the right thing in calling Antifa Domestic Terrorists. And I understand that this organization is behind the demonstrations in our cities. This kind of violence cannot be tolerated in a civil society, period! It must be put down, and those who are guilty of causing it must be arrested and brought to justice. Without civil order, we can’t do life as God has called us to do it in this nation. The apostle Paul urged us to pray for those in authority: And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts. It is pleasing to our Savior-God to pray for them. He longs for everyone to embrace His life and return to the full knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:2-4- Passion Translation). Without civil order, we cannot present the gospel as we should.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to pray for our leaders and to show with our lifestyle and words what it looks like to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. There is no place for racism and prejudice in the life of a Christian. Jesus has broken down the racial walls that seek to divide us. When I come to Christ, I must lay my ethnicity and pride at His feet. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28-NLT). In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us (Colossians 3:11-NLT). Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13-NLT).
A fundamental of life that we must keep in mind is that without Christ, we are wicked and we are unpredictable. We are capable of depravity to the extreme. The Bible is clear about this:
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9 -NLT). For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander (Matthew 15:19 – NLT). There is no one who always does what is right, no, not even one! There is no one with true spiritual insight, and there is no one who seeks after God alone. All have deliberately wandered from God’s ways. All have become depraved and unfit. Kindness has disappeared from them all, not even one is good. Their words release a stench, like the smell of death—foul and filthy! Deceitful lies roll off their tongues. The venom of a viper drips from their lips. Bitter profanity flows from their mouths, only meant to cut and harm. They are infatuated with violence and murder. They release ruin and misery wherever they go. They never experience the path of peace. They shut their eyes to the awe-inspiring God! (Romans 3:10-18 -Passion Translation). For we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 – Passion Translation).
We have civil law and a police force because of the wickedness of the human heart. Law provides a benchmark for conduct in a fallen world. Without law and the order that it provides, we would not be able to live together in a city, a state, or a nation. And this is the reason we need to pray for our legislators, or governors, our mayors, our police force, our judges, and all those in positions of responsibility on the federal level. They provide a balance to the evil intentions of the fallen human heart.
Our police need our support now more than ever. Their responsibility is to enforce our laws, and to hold to account those who violate them. It’s important that we do not vilify all uniformed officers because of a few who do not have the character worthy to wear the badge.
As Christians, we hold a special place in the world. We stand between God and fallen man. We are God’s mouthpiece, His eyes, His ears, His hands, His voice, and we are to model His love to all. We Christians, out of all of the people in the world, have a spiritual authority over Satan and the demonic forces that work with him. Satan and the demonic world are behind the violence in our cities today, and we must pray and stand against them, commanding them to stop in their actions to bring to a halt our civil society! (See Ephesians 6:10-18).
Lastly, we need to realize that a much deeper problem exists in America. We as a whole in this nation have departed from God and His word, and from the principles that made us great. We have fallen into a rebellion from God that runs deep into how we live as a nation. And we as Christians must take our place and repent for our national sins. We are reaping now the decades we have sowed as a nation of rebellion to God and His ways. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land (2 Chronicles 7:14 – NLT).
Our mission as the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is to take the good news of the gospel to the lives of sinful people, and to represent Jesus by how we live and how we treat others. You can help us in our mission to change lives by your prayers and by your faithfulness to the Lord (Matthew 18:18-20).
During our corporate time of prayer this past Saturday, I was reminded of what God said to Israel when they forsook Him to worship foreign gods and follow their own desires apart from Him:
Hosea 4:1-6 – NLT – Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel! The Lord has brought charges against you, saying: “There is no faithfulness, no kindness, no knowledge of God in your land. (2) You make vows and break them; you kill and steal and commit adultery. There is violence everywhere— one murder after another. (3) That is why your land is in mourning, and everyone is wasting away. Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky, and the fish of the sea are disappearing. (4) “Don’t point your finger at someone else and try to pass the blame! My complaint, you priests, is with you. (5) So you will stumble in broad daylight, and your false prophets will fall with you in the night. And I will destroy Israel, your mother. (6) My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.
This is where America is today. Will you “stand in the gap” with me and ask God to heal our divided land?