Loving and Living Like Jesus in the Current Crisis

In light of the events of this past week, I wanted to take a moment to speak to you from my heart.
In times like this, it can be tempting for us to entrench ourselves in camps of our own creation where we feel safe. We feel a pressure within us to move to one side or the other, to listen to one narrative to the exclusion of another, to make assumptions of individuals and organizations that only foster division. As Christians, who are called to love like Jesus and live like Jesus, we must be willing to follow a different example, to confess and forsake all of our sinful tendencies.
The first “sign of life” that we studied in the first letter of John provides us with a much healthier pattern in this time of crisis. John told us that the very first and most important evidence of our salvation is the Spirit inside of us who testifies to the truth. The truth to which the Spirit testifies is Jesus’s identity as the Christ, the Son of God. The incarnation of Jesus Christ calls us to a better way in times of division.
The beautiful truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that though we existed in sinful rebellion against a perfectly holy and righteous God, he did not write us off in our rebellion. Instead, he pursued us in the most unique way imaginable. God clothed himself in humanity to dwell among us in humility and service. The fact that Jesus is both 100% God and 100% man means that he alone stands in the place where he can perfectly represent both parties. He steps into the fray to manifest God to man, and man to God and reconcile us to one another. As Christians, we have the privilege and the responsibility to be voices of light and love in seasons of darkness and division.
On the one hand, we can and must declare that hostility and bias against a person merely because of the color of their skin or the origin of their race is appalling and of the devil. We can say, without reservation, that the senseless taking of human life is a direct attack against the God whose image every single human being reflects. Therefore, we can speak the names of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, declare their value as humans beings, acknowledge the unjust nature of their deaths, and call for those with the ability and power to ensure that justice is served.
On the other hand, we can speak the truth that the apostle James declares, “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) We can condemn the displays of violence across the nation in response to the death of George Floyd as dishonoring to the Lord as well as to the memory of Floyd himself. We can speak with confidence that though some police officers use their positions of power to prey on the people they are meant to serve, this is not a reflection of the majority of those who have committed their lives to protect and serve the citizens of their communities.  We can acknowledge our fellow citizens’ right to be both angry and heartbroken while encouraging them with the words of Paul, “in your anger do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26)
Speaking these truths is not doublespeak.  As the children of God and citizens of an eternal kingdom, we must rise above the earthly camps in which we tend to reside. We must be willing to declare the value of every life, advocate for justice in every corner of the world, and strive to make peace at every opportunity in which we are given. We are to live a better way but a harder way; the way of humility, service, and sacrifice that has been modeled for us by Jesus Christ.
As children of God who believe the truth about Jesus, we must now be willing to love like Jesus and live like Jesus. This is our opportunity to manifest Christ to the world around us as we step into the conversation not on this side or that side but to the best of our ability on God’s side. So let us honor him! Let us go before the Lord in confidence to intercede for our world in prayer. Let us pray for those around us caught up in sin and ask that “God will give [them] life” (1 John 5:16) and let us pray that the God of all comfort will come alongside those of our world who are hurting. Then let us come out of our prayer closets confident in who we are in Jesus and love like Jesus and live like Jesus for his glory and the good of our world.
God bless you and to him be all the glory!