Dear Friends of GTN,
To say that our nation is divided, trust has been broken and turmoil is evident on the streets in our cities, is certainly an understatement.
As we follow the news and see our nation in turmoil, my heart, like many of yours, aches. All of us long for righteousness and peace.
As my friend, Mark Bailey, president of Dallas Theological Seminary, recently wrote:
All Christians should feel extremely bothered, hurt, and righteously angered over the recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, not to mention all others who have needlessly died due to racial injustices and systemic racism.
Racism is a grievous sin, resulting in systemic oppression, and does not display our Lord’s heart. It is demonic, and we, as the body of Christ, are called to stand against it. While equal treatment and justice are American values that we proclaim, too often they are not experienced by all people.
As we travel throughout the Majority World, we see that injustice is far greater and more prevalent than even here in the United States. The sad reality is: injustice is common globally.
And the people that suffer the most are usually the poor and disenfranchised.
These are the people Jesus calls us to “pay attention to” and “speak up for.”
Throughout the pages of the Bible, we find the command to “treat others the way you would like to be treated.” (Luke 6:31)
When you and I speak up for the marginalized and mistreated, we are living out Scriptural mandates.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV)
When power is abused it creates chaos and dysfunction at every level of culture.
James tells us…
“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” (James 2:8-9 NIV)
As the injustices that happen within our nation have hit the front pages of our newspapers once again, we are all reminded that we live “in a fallen place in the midst of a fallen race.”
God calls all Christ-followers to be involved in helping to redeem this broken world back to Himself. Scripture says that one of the ways we do this is by speaking up for the poor, oppressed and marginalized within our society.
Micah 6:8 says…
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?” (ESV)
Many times, throughout history we have not spoken out as we should have in defense of those oppressed because of the color of their skin or ethnicity.
It is appropriate for us to collectively mourn with our brothers and sisters who have experienced the hurtful oppression of racism and who live in fear as part of their daily experience.
It is also appropriate for us to join our voices with those who are protesting peacefully and who are denouncing the violence and vandalism that ultimately distracts from the real root issues that we are trying to solve as a nation.
If we want to see social unrest decrease, we as followers of Christ need to appropriately, clearly, and yet graciously, speak up and speak out against all injustice and unrighteousness.
The prophet Jeremiah reminds us to “…seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
My prayer is that God would be gracious to us as a nation and bring healing to us, and our world, in this troubled time.
“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24 ESV)
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
(Proverbs 14:34 NASB)
By God’s Grace and for His Glory,
Paul R. Madson