For the past year I’ve been working on a project called “First Church of the Broken”. Currently, I am in chapter four and I have about three more chapters to go. The premise of the book is “Loving others in a world that relentlessly tears them apart.” I have felt for some time that this book desperately needed to be written but I’ve never felt more compelled than I have the last week following the evil acts that have occurred in Charleston South Carolina.
I am pretty cautious when talking about matters of race, due to the fact that I am white and cannot understand the pain of what has happened and continues to happen in our country over this issue, so I will keep it brief. My heart hurts for the people of Charleston and for Emanuel Church. They have been in my prayers since this has happened and my spirit is heavy because of the hatred that perpetrated this heinous act. I don’t understand that side of this issue either. I don’t get what drives people to hurt others in this way and it continues to confound and anger me.
Our country and churches are hurting from the problem of racism. It is true that the root of the problem is sin and that our hearts are desperately evil and we struggle with this evil constantly. However, I am a big fan of calling things by name in prayer to our God so let’s join together to do that. Let’s pray for the problem of racism and pray that God will use us in a way that will combat this problem and not accelerate it or perpetuate it. Let’s not bicker about semantics that some people use and let’s not argue about what the real problem is. Let’s simply call it by name and pray that God would intervene. Let’s pray for unity in our churches and ask God that we would not be part of the problem but part of the solution.
I am reminded that as a believer, my life is supposed to look like the life of Jesus. Jesus approached people from different cultures, genders and races without hesitation and often shattered ancient barriers that were erected by well meaning but misguided people. See also the woman at the well, the Roman soldier, the parable of the Good Samaritan, ….and I could keep going. My point is that when it comes to loving people, there should be no boundaries. (Galatians 3:28).
We need to love all people relentlessly and ask God for healing and that He would use us to be a part of that process. That is the prayer I will pray for me and my family. I will also be praying this for you as well. One love, one Spirit and one purpose. (Phil 2:2)