I was praying about what our next series was going to be about and I had this dialog with God. I knew He wanted us to address what is happening in our world around us but I did not want to talk about racism or the riots. I told God that there is so much darkness in the world that I did not want to focus on that. I did not want to talk about “anxiety in trying times” when it came to covid or something like that, and I didn’t want to talk on how black lives matter. I told God that I wanted to do something different like go through the book of Ruth or something, something that is more lighthearted to not focus on the world that we are all currently living in. That is what I wanted to do but God had other plans. The more I heard in the news and the more I saw hateful things on facebook, the more my heart began to break for our world and our country. I knew I had to and I knew that Reverent Rhythms had to make a stand but when you look at both sides of this war that is happening in our country, black lives matter, all lives matter, whether you are for or against cops, what political party you affiliate with, if you are rioting, looting or just posting on facebook, all I can see is hate towards the other group. I’m not saying it is bad for people to get angry at injustice but the anger that I am seeing is fueled by hate, genially speaking. God was giving me the word love for this time. We need to come together in love. The church, Reverent Rhythms, our city, our families, and our world needs to learn how to love. And not love like the world know how to love; we need to learn how to love like Jesus loves.
How does Jesus love differently than the world loves?
Jesus was physically on the earth over 2000 years ago but things in that society are still seen today. There was deep racial tension, major sexism, injustice, and political oppression. When Jesus came in the picture, He blew a lot of peoples minds with how He handled social issues. People were expecting the Jewish Messiah to come into political power and save the Jewish people from Rome, but Jesus, who was the Jewish Messiah, came and saved all people first from their sins and then fought for social issues of the day. Jesus gave a voice to women, championed other races that the Jews saw as less than, and showed that He loved everyone. John 3:16 makes that pretty clear when Jesus say “for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16)”. It doesn’t say “God so loved Jews”, or even “God so loved white people”. Jesus makes it clear that God loves everyone, no matter what.
So these last few weeks I have been listening to a lot of sermons that have recently come out about racism and the tension that we are seeing in our world. God has really convicted me through them. When the riots and things first were cropping up a few weeks ago, I was shocked to see how people were reacting. I felt like people were overreacting. I didn’t thing that the racism and injustice was not wrong, but I thought that people just needed to calm down. I especially didn’t think it was something I had to be a part of. I knew racism was wrong but that was about all I felt about the issue. I have not personally seen a lot of racism in my life, even though I am mixed race. I was listening to these sermons and realized that as the Body of Christ, being neutral on this is not an option. We need to fight for love. The Body of Christ is God’s hands and feet to the world and what happens if God’s hands are not moving and working to bring God into hateful places. What happens if His feet do not stand with and march with those who are trying to stand on their own. I believe that this world is so dark with anger and hate because those that are called to be the lights to this world are just staying at home and asking God why everything is messed up. I see that the Church is looking at what is happening in our world today and saying that it is bad and that there is spiritual attack happening. And then that is it. I was listening to Pastor Dharius Daniels and he said something that caught me off guard. He said that our doctrine could be completely correct, but our love be so wrong. We can know that God loves everyone but not follow it up with our actions. I’m not saying that we all need to go out and start riots, but we need to not be passive about God’s love. We can not be sideline Christians seeing that bad things are happening. My friend posted on facebook years ago and said that people ask all the time why God would sit back and watch so much evil that happens in the world and not do anything about it; God did do something about it, He created you. Friends, God has put all of us here on this earth, in this community, no by accident, but for such a time as this (Esther 4:14)”.
My encouragement to you is to pray about what your part is in this. Through out the series we are going to look at times that Jesus loved on people well. Ask the Lord today how to love people well and to love people like Jesus loves people. For me it has been a lot of prayer. Like I said earlier, I have not seen a lot of injustice around me personally but I have been reading posts from personal friends who have. Every time I see someone I know share about what they have been though I pray right then that they would feel God’s love surround them. I pray for their safety and I pray that love will well up inside of them. Every time I see a cop car, I pray for that officer, that they would be safe and that their heart would be to love the people that they are protecting. What can you do? What conversations can you have with your kids to show them God’s love? Who can you be praying for? How can you be more like Jesus this week in how to love well?
I will encourage you to also to watch these videos. They have been helpful and encouraging to me and I hope they encourage you! Next week we are going to read through John 4, so if you want to read ahead!
Lastly I want to give you this last verse to read through. 1 Corinthians 13 says “love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its when way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)”.