A Different Spirit

When I watch images of police officers using excessive force…
Woman calling the police on African American males…
White men detaining an African American delivery man…
Southerners shooting a young black male for entering a house under construction..

What I see, what I hear, is a world with the inability to see God in each individual person.

This is not a new phenomenal. It is as old as biblical days.

There was animosity between Jews and Samaritans. Jews thought the Samaritans were defiled, less than. Samaritans were avoided. So when the Samaritans did not welcome Jesus, the disciples’ response was, “Let’s call down fire on them.” (Luke 9:54) Excessive force. Don’t you think?

By the way, this was not the disciples’ response when earlier those in Nazareth tried to throw Jesus off a cliff (Luke 4:28). They didn’t desire to call fire down on those who were “like” them.

Why such a harsh rebuke of the Samaritans? Because the disciples did not value Samaritans lives.

Today Jesus’ disciples don’t call down fire they…
Call the police on innocent African Americans….
Are silent when unarmed black men are gunned down…
Speculate the guilt of of men who look differently…
Scrutinize Muslim travelers…

Same spirit. Modern day response.

And what was Jesus’ response to His disciples suggestion? It was not silence. It was not to minimize the seriousness of His friends suggestion by justifying it.

No, Jesus rebuked his friends for such an idea that people lives were expendable. He said, “That spirit of murder is not from me. (and if it weren’t from God, where was it from?) I came to save. Not to destroy.” (Luke 9:55)

So my friends, disciples of Christ, let us do what Jesus did.
Let us speak out against the violence. Let us not justify bad behavior. The spirit behind this is NOT a spirit of justice. It is a spirit of fear and hatred.

Let us advocate to save lives – ALL LIVES – the unborn, those with brown skin, those of different faiths, those of different political persuasion.

But most importantly, let us see the value in ALL LIVES. What if in every person you encountered – the person of a different ethnic group or religion, the person of a different political party, the homeless person, the disrespectful teenager, the loud mouth know-it-all, the person buying what you deem unnecessary with their welfare card, the town drunk, the prostitute selling her body – what if you saw the glory of God in that person. Then treated them with the same respect and honor with which you would treat JESUS.

Now, this is in no way meant to bring condemnation or guilt. But repentance. Repentance from denying there is a race problem in America.
Repentance from silence.
Repentance from thinking that the person who died in custody somehow deserved that treatment.
Repentance from cultivating a society that devalues people – brown people, people of different faiths, people of different political beliefs.

Pray this with me: “Jesus continue to reveal God’s love, His character, His heart to me so that I can love and value all people. Help me see the glory of God in every person I encounter. Help me love unconditionally as you have loved me. Give me the boldness to stand up for what is right. Let me be an agent of change in my sphere of influence. Let me lead by example. Amen.”