The Need for Reconciliation
The senseless killings and violence in our nation confirm the uncertain, chaotic time we are living in. Our minds are flooded with questions: What am I to do? How am I to think? Who do I look to for direction; how do I interpret the violence and the injustice? What is the root?
From the images and specific messages of the last few days we have a window into the chaos. We are invited to listen, to pay attention, to be informed and open. In the midst of our confusion, disruption, disillusion, fear, anger, grief and sadness can we stop, as Christians, and take some deep breaths. Focus back on the Lord and what he is wanting from us.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good, And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14)
In what way do you need to humble yourself? Which of the New Testament “one anothers” is the hardest for you?
- Love one another
- Bear one another’s burdens
- Accept one another
- Care for one another
- Forgive one another
- Build up one another
- Be hospitable to one another
- Pray for one another
- Serve one another
You can’t really practice the “one anothers” without being informed. As a Christian be aware of what is happening in your community. It will help you relate and pray. It will show you how you can get involved.
Pay attention to how others feel about these horrific events…listen, notice and reach out to understand how this is impacting others. Liberty University student Michael Campbell posts on Instagram a vulnerable, personal message, sharing what it is like for him as a black young adult. He invites us as his brothers and sisters in Christ to pay attention.
Pray for the pastors across our country as they shepherd their people in the midst. Pastor Dr. David Ireland’s message—black pastor of a 9,000 person church in New Jersey—offers a perspective from shepherding a diverse congregation of over 70 nationalities and speaks to our calling to be ministers of reconciliation. He calls us to move toward people not away from them, to be a safe spot for people to have vulnerable conversations with. Isolation from anger distances us, but when we break the barriers it actually improves race relations.
Watch this video to see the Sheriff of Flint, Michigan take off his hat, lay down his sticks and start walking with the marchers, as they shouted “walk with us… walk with us…. walk with us”. He said, “Let’s go!” with his arm around a black protester offering a powerful model of moving toward others for healing.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation as come: the old has gone, the new is here! All this from God who reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…we implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:17-19)
Consider this powerful 26 second video picturing true reconciliation. Whites kneel to ask forgiveness from the black community in the Third Ward in Houston. Then, the blacks present and asked forgiveness from the whites –May God multiply this kind of reconciliation within our nation.
How to process all this? Seek to be a reconciler and pray. Pray with the prayer Anne Graham Lotz prayed on Pentecost Sunday that was made available asking God for forgiveness and for blessing. If you click on this link you can access the prayer there with some ways to personalize it. And, you will be able to hear “the Blessing for UK” sung.
One of the most encouraging things to me personally has been the invitation to prayer from Ann Graham Lotz on Pentecost Sunday. It is easy to slump down into discouragement. We need to hold tight to the indwelling Holy Spirit within.