What has been happening in recent days is absolutely appalling but not surprising. I think most of us are aware that racism is alive and well, not just in a small band of white supremacists, but in a significant portion of American society. I'm certain it has sunk into every human heart to some extent which is why we all need to constantly ask God to search our hearts. We should always be on the side of promoting justice and defending those who are being oppressed. It's our calling as followers of Jesus.
The happenings in Charlottesville I'm certain break the heart of God and should break ours too. That there are people so brazenly hating is deeply disturbing. That the numbers that rallied were so large is disturbing. That police had to flee the scene is disturbing. That our president responded so vaguely and passively is disturbing. But perhaps most disturbing of all is that some who identify as evangelical Christians are not condemning what happened in Charlottesville. It makes me out of my righteous mind that any follower of Jesus would not see the happenings in Charlottesville as pure evil and a clear heinous demonstration of racial hate.
Being a non-denominational church Ren has a beautiful mix of all sorts of people with differences in theology, in personal convictions and in political views. Some are loyal democrats and some are loyal republicans in our midst. Others have no party loyalty. At Ren we try to refrain from dividing over politics and don't tell people who to vote for. But there's a time to simply call things out. If you did vote for President Trump out of a hope that certain conservative values might gain ground nationally I understand. But I'm begging you to be careful not to be part of blindly thinking he can do no wrong. We should pray for him as a leader and recognize particular giftings he may have but we cannot call evil good and good evil as God warned through Isaiah the prophet. As followers of Jesus we must call sin sin.
This is not a time to defend the actions of President Trump whether we voted for him or not. After making the country wait two days before responding, the president then downplayed what was clearly a demonstration of gross racial hatred. He praised the white supremacists for having a permit to protest and criticized the counter protesters for not having a permit (His statement was false as both groups obtained a permit). He said there were some bad folks on all sides thereby making no distinction between racists and people trying to stand against racism. He refused to call this thing what it really was. Minutes after the press conference he was boasting about his winery in Charlottesville?
Those who have concerns about President Trump’s response include both democrats and republicans. Those who are concerned aren't just picking on him, as some suggest. He is the president of the United States of America which is one of the most powerful nations on earth! What he says rings out through the entire globe. This was a sad moment in civil rights. Leadership matters. What leaders say or do not say in response to evil in our country will influence how people think. Because our president refuses to call out evil, racism is becoming even more normalized in our country. So let's not defend this or make excuses for him. Let's not shrug our shoulders indifferently. Let's weep.
I'm writing today mainly to my brothers and sisters who are Christian. This is a time for us to be discerning. We must pray for and honor President Trump but we cannot undermine the importance of what he says and does because it has tremendous influence on civil rights in America. We also need to be careful not to hate our president or our brothers and sisters in Christ who are misguided. Even the great Apostle Peter needed to be openly rebuked by the Apostle Paul for not thinking straight in a matter regarding race relations. So may we be one in mind and heart on all this. May we think like God. God hates evil and hates racism. All people essentially come from one man, Adam. We are all from the same stock. All people are equal. All are made in God’s image “fearfully and wonderfully”. May we not be afraid to condemn racism, injustice and bigotry when we see it. May the church unified against evil become a fiery prophetic moral voice to our nation! Christ came to break down barriers and so we follow in his steps.
For this reason let's pray for all involved. Pray for our president that he'd have God’s heart of justice. Pray for people who are the objects of hate and who feel afraid at the growing racism that they will feel sheltered by the Lord. Pray for prophets in every arena of society to speak powerfully against evil and cast vision for a better world that reflects the vision of God. Pray for the white supremacists in our nation to be crushed in spirit and transformed in heart. Pray for the counter protesters not just in Charlottesville but all over the nation to build a movement of equality and to keep from meeting evil with evil. Pray for the family of the young protester who was killed. Pray for the young man who drove his car into the crowd of counter protesters that his life would be redeemed and that he'd be a powerful voice against racism (think Saul to Paul conversion). Pray for us as the Church that we'd weep over the things that make God weep and that we'd promote justice and hate evil and bravely speak the mind of God. Pray that our loyalty would be to truth and not to any political party or evangelical leader. Pray that we would search our hearts deeply for any ways our thinking must change.