The murder of George Floyd has ignited a firestorm of emotions over the past few weeks. People all across this country and around the world have successfully shined a light on injustice across the globe. This outpouring of anger and grief have served to give a voice to the fallen and has united millions of people.
The difficult and long overdue discussions about systemic prejudice and bigotry that has afflicted our world for hundreds of years, are starting to happen. Real results are starting. The conversation is alive and its being embraced by good and decent people in every corner of the world. This is how it should be and that is especially true for Christians.
When Christians Hate
I say its especially true for Christians because it is. In the Christian faith, we are taught to be kind, compassionate, loving and generous. That is not debatable because it is a fact and it is the very cornerstone of our faith.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28
Our world is plagued by many false people’s of faith. These are our brothers and sisters who often claim to be “good Christians” or “good (what ever faith they may be), yet they think and act in direct oppositions to the very things we are taught. There may be basic tenets of Christianity, but we all know there is so much more to being a good Christian. So what do we do when those claiming to be good Christians, are actually filled with malice and hatred? How can we reconcile this hypocrisy? How do we accept those people who claim to be faithful, yet let hatred rule their hearts — for that is what racism and bigotry are…hatred.
“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” – 1 John 4:20
Admitting to ourselves that we have these feelings, would be the first step. Understanding the root cause would be the next: “Why do I hate/dislike/disrespect people of a different race/faith/gender/sexual orientation….?” We can’t have resolution and reconciliation until we admit the problem and truly desire to change. In essence, that desire to change is repentance, which as we know, is required of all Christians. The next step in the healing process must be to actually change. This change may seem like a daunting task considering that sometimes, the very people boasting that they are “good Christians” are the ones exuding the most hatred, but nonetheless, change must come from each of us, even if takes others longer to catch up.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” – Matthew 6:1-34
“Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.” – Proverbs 26:24-26
Hatred and cruelty are sins. They are emotions and actions that put us in direct conflict with our faith. The tragic, senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, to name just a few, are are dreadful tragedies that cannot be in vain. We all must be moved to create a more loving, compassionate and positive world.
It Starts with Each and Everyone of Us
How do we move forward? What changes can I and you make to help heal the world and make it a more just and positive place? For starters, for any Christian in the world, that change must come from within our heart. Faith and understanding must empower us to make a more perfect world.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Our desire to be truly good people who do good works and who think good thoughts, must triumph over any fear or hatred that is living inside of us. The only way to do that, is to let love flow freely — not just from us, but into us as well. Sometimes, the fear of being loved is almost as powerful as the fear of giving love.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” – 1 John 4:7
If we lead from a place of love and compassion, we’ve taken the first major step. That person you hate because of their skin color, religion or sexual orientation? Whether you realize it or not, they are your brothers and sisters — they are, as all of us are, God’s children.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
Let’s really listen right now. The world is in a great state of flux and perhaps all of this upheaval is a sign from God. Perhaps…maybe…its a cosmic wake-up call for all of us to change. If we listen and open our hearts, hopefully enough of us will heed the message and real, lasting positive change will come.
One thing we should all try and do is to see the world through one another’s eyes — What do other people experience? What do they hear? What is their world like? If we have a loving heart and a desire to do good and be understanding and supportive, we may just make it.