What is Our Voice as a Nation Saying? What Are We Saying to God?
Being a Canadian, I know that I cannot fully comprehend what the racial unrest truly is between African Americans and Caucasians. I am aware that there is a powerful history of injustice. The mistrust between African Americans and law enforcement is evident every time you turn on your television set. There is growing civil unrest fueled by violence, death and destruction. It saddens the heart because it doesn’t have to be this way.
History is his(her)story. We have an opportunity to either learn from these stories as to what can be done differently, or repeat them. It is our choice as to what road we take. One road will lead to destruction- which is what we see now. The other, will lead to victory- but if we never get there, we will never see what peace could look like.
Knowledge of history, knowledge of our “roots”, is important as it tells us where we came from. However, it doesn’t have to define our present or our future. Our choices, whether it is separately or collectively, define our reality. They determine our future. The actions that we take now- whether good or bad- define what is about to happen. That is what will make history. That is what will be this generation’s story. We need to look at what we will leave other generations- what they will learn from us. Will the results be impactful? Or will our children shake their heads and wonder, “What were they thinking?”
Is our example truly reflective of the God we know? Is our behavior reflective of God who resides in us or the flesh rising up? If we say that we are Christian, and God resides in us, there should be no need for violence. For violence to exist, we are stripping God of His power to act. Our behavior indicates that He is incapable of change- incapable of justice- and therefore we are taking matters into our own hands. We are seeking out our own justice because we believe that He cannot or won’t. Is that what you want to say to God?
Yet Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” Scripture informs us not to seek revenge, yet what are we doing? It is sad when people are killed- whether it is accidental, purposeful, through bias or due to corruption. God will judge these people according to His word- not because we would like to think so, but because His Word says so. God cannot lie! He is just, so we have to trust that what He says He will do.
However, the same judgement that will come on them will come on us, too. Violence by our hands will equally be judged, and doesn’t make the situation right. It just breeds more of the same. Violence never “settles the score”, it just makes a bigger mess. The violence that has gone on has not helped either situation- it has just taken innocent lives. These lives had a purpose- a God-given purpose. How do you know that God didn’t place them in a position with authority? How do you know that they weren’t walking out God’s plan for their life? Yet in someone’s anger, in their haste, it was snuffed out. This is a greater tragedy than the one that was originally committed.
If we know God, would He want us to have violence or unrest in the streets? Would He want us to disrespect authority- many of whom He could have placed there for a time such as this? Even when Jesus was persecuted for who He was to fulfill the prophesy, He never disrespected authority. He, too, was unjustly accused. He stood trial and was beaten. He was killed unjustly by our standards. Yet He never uttered a harsh word to them.
Many disciples suffered equally for their faith. Many were stoned, beaten, tortured, put unjustly into jail, and killed. However, no where is it noted that they were disrespectful. They suffered for greater than we ever will- what makes us think that our plight is greater than dying for our beliefs, our God, or for the salvation of many? Why do we harden our hearts? These great men and women of God were persecuted, they suffered, yet none of them hardened their heart. None of them rebelled. Yet all of them used both prayer and their voice- to the glory of God.
Violence and aggressiveness don’t bring glory to God. They just bring more violence. It takes matter into our own hands instead of praying and leaving it to God. Our voice should ring out to corporately pray that corruption be exposed. Our voice should say, “may light overtake all the dark places”. Our voice should be crying out to God that those who hold a racial bias, or are willfully persecuting anybody regardless of race, gender, etc be removed from authority. Biases affect our judgement, and only God truly knows the heart. God can build up, teach, or remove. God in an instant can act on prayers going up and bring about the miraculous. Can you? Can it be done lawfully? Respectfully? Can you make an impact?
Absolutely! Our voice is the most powerful tool that God gave us, but find ways to use it to bring glory. Voice your opinion, but use it to bring about a discussion of change. Complaining won’t bring change. Aggressive tactics bring about judgement both in this world and in eternity. How about pushing or arranging a discussion? How about pushing back with prayer? Do you not think that it is more effective? Write articles… back it up with facts. Media can bring about positive change too if put in the right hands.
Most of all, use the Bible as a guideline to govern your behavior. Ask God what your part is in all of this- what would He have you do? He might say pray, write an article, or organize a discussion to bring about peace. You may be a leader, and He may call you to bigger things. You may be unknown, but God may have created you to be an instrument- a voice- for Him right now. Ask Him what your part is in all of this and make sure that it lines up with scripture.
Do not disrespect authority. Corruption and prejudice exists everywhere and in every job. There are many officers out there who want to see change as much as you do. It is because they want to make a difference that they work as a police officer. For many people, their heart is right. Don’t punish or disrespect the good out of fear or due to the bad.
Instead, pray for those in authority- you will be rewarded. We should be praying for our law enforcement and politicians to be protected. We should pray for their families. We should pray that they come to know Christ, because that will affect their decisions. That will affect our nation. That will affect change. Complaining hasn’t so far. What about prayer?
Most importantly, examine your own heart. Are you just as guilty? Many of us are without realizing it. It is time that we stop seeing others by their race, socio-economic status, and appearance and begin to see people as God sees them. The Bible tells us to judge people by their fruits as only God knows the heart. When it says, “judge by the fruits”, it does not mean to enforce justice. It means that you pray for weaknesses. You pray for good godly character. You pray for their salvation. However, don’t create their demise, nor cause them to stumble. It means that you may have more of an aquaintence-style of a relationship, or no relationship at all depending on the individual.
If fear does exist (and God didn’t give us a spirit of fear), then pray protection over yourself. Pray for favor. Pray for God’s blessings to follow you. These are all scriptural. God will protect you from harm. He will protect you from those who persecute you. He will save you from your enemies. Mistrust and disrespect are not scriptural and just bring about more violence. They aren’t a solution, and don’t bring anyone closer to peace. All it does is tighten restrictions and create a negative atmosphere. We’ve had enough of that. It’s time for God’s peace to prevail.
And the most important fact that we forget: God commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
What is our voice saying both to our nation and to Christ? Is it speaking the truth in love, or is it shouting out for violence? Should blood be staining our streets, or should prayer be ringing out? What is your voice saying? Is it lining up with the Word? Does it bring glory to God? What would God have to say about your actions? Would He praise your decisions? If it is not praise-worthy, glorifying, or edifying to God, it’s time for a change.
Make your voice count for the glory of God!