But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
I am sitting here thinking about the current climate of our world and it is disheartening. As I watch the news and listen to various podcasts about current events of COVID-19 and social injustice, I am saddened. Let me not just say social injustice let me call him by name, George Floyd. While he is not the only victim, George Floyd represents the systemic problem in our nation that has been here for far too long. Not only am I dismayed, I am torn asking myself, “What is the purpose behind all of this?” Nothing takes God by surprise. However, there is a lot going on. I see many commenting and conducting interviews, which I believe is a beneficial way to express oneself at this time. However, we also have some that have decided to use violence and aggression to make the point to bring change. There are two things wrong with this approach. Violence always takes away from the issue needing to be addressed. Second, it feeds the point of those who used it in the first place. In other words, meeting violence with violence only brings destruction not change. It is fueled by bitterness and resentment and if we are not careful it can consume. I once heard a preacher describe it this way. If you are bit by a snake and focus your time chasing the snake instead of attempting to remove the poison, you will die. The more you chase the more the poison spreads in your body- as opposed to stopping and removing the poison first.
As I am writing I am thinking about the eight minute and forty six second video that went viral the day of George Floyd’s unwarranted death. As I sat in my bathroom watching the video, with tears running down my face, all I could think was, “Is this how far we have fallen?” As I watched the video of Officer Chauvin’s intent look, full of hatred hovering over George Floyd it dawned on me- we are a nation that lacks compassion for not only one another but for God first. The disregard for human life is disheartening and I wondered if I had been a bystander what would I have done? Would I have been afraid to react or stop the injustice happening in front of me, if I was in Minneapolis? What would Jesus have done? Both questions I have been pondering over the past week.
Self examination is by far the hardest thing that Christ would have any of us to do. The challenges presented in God’s Word truly are created to stretch us. Nestled away in the book of Matthew chapter five, He gives us perspective on how we are to love our enemies. In fact, he commands it. Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you ! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. Then He digs deeper to drive the point home by saying, If you love only those who love you what reward is there for that? I believe Jesus says that to make us stop and think and compare where we really are in relation to unconditional love as believers.
I must admit even writing this now it convicts me where I am. I confess that it is hard for me to do this in this moment but there are three words that stand out to me, “In that way”. There it is! This is where the rubber meets the road. This is the gauge of measurement. This is what determines if I am a true lover of Jesus Christ- how do I respond to those who are unlovable? This is my breaking point. Not a breaking point in the natural sense but it is my breaking point from what is natural to living by spiritual principal.
What is a breaking point and what causes it? A breaking point is the moment of greatest strain at which someone or something gives way. This is where our nation is right now. We have a lot of tension due to the systemic strain through various levels of oppression. Perhaps you don’t see it this way but my prayer is that you will pray for direction and revelation.
Let me say, all in the world are not the cause of what has happened in the past few weeks. Everyone does not share in the same views. However there are numerous accounts of what has not been addressed. I will admit it is not easy to see an enemy in a positive light. I am reminded of the Good Samaritan who stopped to help the injured traveler left for dead on the side of the road. They were from two very different sides of the track but the Good Samaritan did not see ethnicity, social or economic status, he just saw a need and was present to do something about the need. This is the essence of what Jesus is saying to all at this time. Stretch yourself beyond comfort and be of service to someone else. This Good Samaritan set a tone for us all. Let me ask you, how can you serve someone else especially in this heated climate of our nation? How can you serve or assist in the injustice that is present? I think it is interesting that oftentimes we can think to ourselves that “There is nothing I can do” or “It does not necessarily impact me directly”. Well friend, if you are a believer of Jesus Christ, it affects us all. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr says “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Realize that all of us that view injustice as passerbyers on the road through life have a decision to make. Will we stop long enough to seek the others perspective or will we continue as we always have?
Why do some of us as humans care more about the injustice of an animal (please do not misunderstand me I care about animals) than another human life. A man was prosecuted for dog fighting and people spoke out more for the rights of animals than one of God’s created in His image. Perhaps you were not there when George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury, Breona Taylor or others were disregarded as humans. Yet I still pose the question, will we respond like the Levite and the Priest that looked the other way and knew that they should do better but didn’t. Or will we look beyond our own comfort for the sake of another to serve. If nothing else, allow this to be your breaking point.
Will we love the unlovable and not just glance over the injustice that is being done before our eyes? You choose.