This has been a bloody summer. It has been heart wrenching. Every time I hear one of the stories, whether if it is 300 people being slaughtered or just one…my heart sinks. Before, we could turn a blind-eye and go “oh that’s in another country” but now we can’t. We are being forced to realize that what we pushed aside in the past exists in our own country, cities, and towns.
Over 60 shootings in Chicago on one weekend in May. 49 people gunned down in a nightclub in Orlando. And now Philando Castile & Alton Sterling who join a long list of black men gunned down by the Police.
Now before you get all mad and say I’m choosing a side or whatever, take a breath. I am on the side of justice. I will stand for what is right. But if it’s wrong, you can bet I’m gonna say something about it. People being slaughtered like animals because they believe or look or act differently than you is wrong. It’s downright wrong…and we all can talk about fixing it but we are going to end right back up where we began, and nothing will change.
Why? Because we are all born with hatred in our blood. We are all born with sin in our blood. And without Christ, our first instinct is fear and hate. Anyone that is different than us, we become afraid of and we translate that fear for our own preservation into hate. I grew up full of fear and hate…and no it wasn’t taught to me by my parents, I developed it through stories, the media, and experiences I had. It was so easy to fear and hate people. Hatred comes naturally…like breathing and there is no way that we can brainstorm to stop it. Because if there truly were a solution we would have all agreed upon it by now and all these murders would not be happening.
As followers of Christ, as HIS CHURCH we need to be brave and start standing up and saying something when injustice happens. It’s not just racism we are facing here, it is hatred against people who are different than us.
The Church has completely and utterly forgotten what it means to love. There are days I wake up embarrassed to be a Christian not because of Jesus but because how we as “his church” carry ourselves. How we as “his church” make decisions, how we shun certain lifestyles, how we treat someone differently because of their ethnicity, how we judge someone by how they look or how much money they make, how we humiliate people because we think we are better. If you haven’t figured it out yet, sinful people do sinful things, and until the Holy Spirit takes over their life, they are going to keep doing sinful things!
I’ve been a pastor in 4 churches now, and I can tell you story after story about elder, deacon and even staff meetings, where a decision or statement was made strictly because the person was “not like us”…and how grotesque I felt as there were agreements to follow through on the decision by everyone. And you wonder why I lose respect for church leaders real fast. Being away from that setting has helped me heal some…but hate even exists in our churches.
I hate to say it, but it’s time for another Reformation. Not a theological one like in Luther’s time…but a Reformation of the church from a building with annoying and hateful people to a movement of people committed to serving, loving and caring for those who are still blinded by hate. Yes, we need to start the ugly process of addressing the hate and racism that we have accepted and allowed to fester, which exists in our own church bodies. Call it out. End it. Have a zero tolerance policy toward treating someone differently because of them being different.
I might be pushing you a bit here, but I believe the existence of hate and racism that exists today and to the extent that it exists, is directly related to the church failing to address and set the example of love.
Only when a person intentionally chooses to allow the authentic love of Jesus Christ to change the sinful way that they were created, to fear and hate, can a person truly have a chance to let love emanate through them. Without that…the violence and injustice will only get worse.