Most Sunday nights I sit down with my wife and watch funny videos to unwind from a hectic day of preaching, counseling, and fellowshipping. Tonight is different. I do not know how to describe the way I feel. I guess it is a mix of anger, bewilderment, frustration, and disbelief.
Before the evening service I took time to talk with a police officer in our church and his young family. He was off duty today, but he told me of all the threats that the officers in our area had received. As we talked you could see the concern that he had for his own safety and the safety of his family. In previous conversations he has told me that he hated parking his marked patrol car at his house. He said it made his family a target. I used to think that such thoughts were just paranoia; now I know better.
Here is a young man with a wife and young children. I talked with him as he held his newborn child in his arms. He talked about the life expectancy of police officers. He is concerned for his life just for going to work. He is a wonderful Christian man that is just trying to provide for his family. He may end up having to leave his job just to live to see his children grow up. He is not a racist. He likes to laugh, joke, and have a good time. He just wants to provide for his family. This profoundly saddened me.
After the evening service, I talked with a mother and father in our church. They wanted advice for how to handle a situation involving their daughter. She had recently been called “n*****” while at a social event with friends. Hearing this stirred up so much anger within me. Here is a beautiful young girl whose only crime is the color of her skin. She is funny, polite, and a joy to be around. She has been in my home, read books to my kids, and brought more joy to my family and our church than I could ever write here. How could someone denigrate such a beautiful human being simply because of the color of her skin? As I talked with her parents my blood began to boil. I understand why Christ took a whip to the moneychangers in the temple.
My emotions are running high tonight, but I have hope. My hope is found in Jesus Christ. It is only because of him that a police officer and an African-American can worship in the same room. It is only because of him that both of them can be loved equally within our church. This is why we must share the Gospel of reconciliation with our world. Jesus is our only hope.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-19