Jesus and his apostles set the tone for dealing with societal wrongs
We must not talk to people about injustice until we’ve first spoken to God about our righteousness. | by Paul Louis Cole
What Jesus put into motion was fully launched on the day of Pentecost, the day that birthed the Church. We just celebrated Pentecost Sunday, commemorating our life in Christ, the fullness of His presence, the establishing of His Kingdom.
In contrast, one week earlier, on May 25 in Minneapolis, a man’s life was tragically taken in a blatantly immoral manner that was broadcast around the world via a mobile phone video. That same night, I met with a group of men on YouTube to study being strong men in tough times. Because of the shocking video, our discussion has now continued on Facebook Live and Zoom calls with leaders of all ethnicities and Christian streams.
The death of George Floyd acts as a CT-scan of our hearts, a vivid reminder of the battle we are in between good and evil, God and the enemy. We are a people in desperate need of a savior, a people who need forgiveness, who need a revelation of human dignity, a moral washing of the soul.
At the core of Jesus’ life and ministry was freedom for the oppressed, justice for injustice, grace in the face of inhumanity. Luke recorded in chapter 19 that Jesus wept over Jerusalem because of our spiritual ignorance. But in Luke chapter 13, Jesus wept because of institutional injustice.
We need Jesus. And we need your voice. As Christian leaders, we are responsible to bring the message of Christ into the mess of injustice. Love will win, but only if aggressively applied.
When Nehemiah discovered that Jerusalem was destroyed, he first repented for his nation, his brethren. He hadn’t caused it. He didn’t even live there. He was a slave 1700 miles away. But he accepted responsibility.
That’s a strong man. He prayed for forgiveness and righteousness to prevail. And then, he did something about it. He acted.
In the same spirit as Nehemiah, I repent for the sins of my nation. I pray God will heal our land, and the Cross of Christ will shadow us with a shroud of grace…until men live in harmony as brothers (Psalm 133:1).
Scripture provides five key perspectives:
- Paul said “… this one thing I do.” He was speaking of pressing into the heart and presence and rhythms of Almighty God. We must use God’s sovereignty as our filter before we speak.
- Our comments in the moment will become our children’s context for a lifetime.
- We must speak the words of Jesus to ourselves, bringing His prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, into our souls, before we speak words into another man’s heart.
- It is time to hurt with those who hurt. Grieve with those who grieve. Love takes the pain from another onto ourselves…we are our brother’s keeper.
- We must not talk to people about injustice until we’ve first spoken to God about our righteousness.
I’ve made more mistakes than I care to remember. I’ve spoken out of haste or emotion or misunderstanding and caused unintended consequences for others. In so doing, I damaged my own ability to speak into their lives.
But my biggest regret may be having not spoken up when I should have, or having spoken up when I shouldn’t have—and not knowing the difference.
Today is the day Christian leaders must speak up. We must teach and train people to exercise mutual respect. We must be purveyors of healing to the blood-stained world in which we live, applying the blood of Jesus to bind wounds and heal hurts. We must provide hope to weary hearts. Hope is alive, Hope has a name, Hope’s name is Jesus.
“I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus. So let all who are fully mature have this same passion, and if anyone is not yet gripped by these desires, God will reveal it to them. And let us all advance together to reach this victory-prize, following one path with one passion.” Phil. 3:12-16