I’m typically not a news junkie, but I’ve been mesmerized by all the events that have transpired since George Floyd’s murder. People’s reactions can’t always be easily classified, but I see three groups in the public forum of our city streets:
- Peaceful protesters rallying against racial injustice.
- Angry protesters who hate the police.
- Anarchists who just want to stir up violence and destruction.
The peaceful protesters want to take a stand against an ongoing issue of racial injustice. I’m OK with the peaceful protesters. Unfortunately, they are getting lost in the crowd of interlopers spewing hate and anarchy.
Whether or not you choose to stand in front of city hall with a sign, we can agree that racial injustice is wrong.
- Acquitting the guilty and condemning the just —both are detestable to the Lord (Prov. 17:15).
- This is what the Lord says: Administer justice and righteousness. Rescue the victim of robbery from his oppressor. Don’t exploit or brutalize the resident alien, the fatherless, or the widow. Don’t shed innocent blood in this place (Jer. 22:3-5).
- Crushing all the prisoners of the land beneath one’s feet, denying justice to a man in the presence of the Most High, or subverting a person in his lawsuit —the Lord does not approve of these things (Lam. 3:34-36).
God detests injustice—and so should we. But how do we address injustice and work to put an end to it? Aah, that’s where people have different ideas. There are many things we can do, but anything including violence and aggression is out. An act of injustice is not corrected by another act of violence. Period. Take it out of your playbook.
Whatever words and actions you think will make a difference, they must include this: “Conduct yourselves honorably” (1 Pet. 2:12). The apostle Peter wrote those words to believers who were being challenged for their faith, calling them to do everything above board with no hint of wrong or impropriety.
For the follower of Christ, we cannot make a distinction between our actions in the community and that which honors Christ and glorifies God. What we do in the political arena, among our neighbors, or in an environment where disagreement and debate reign is to be infused with honor to Christ and glory to God.
Believers should be the absolute best neighbors in the HOA … the best citizens … the best employees .. the best whatever. People desperately need to see men and women of integrity, people who stand their ground with conviction and a good dose of love and grace.
This call from Peter doesn’t mean we acquiesce to the way things are. We should take a stand against injustice and any form of wrong. And we can even do so with righteous indignation—but righteous indignation is a far cry from the anger that hates and despises others.
As we seek to right wrongs, we never want to do it without an awareness that our actions either point to Christ or turn people away. People may not like what you stand for. They may not like you, but conducting yourself honorably means they cannot overlook your good works and the One you follow.
“Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day he visits” (1 Pet. 2:12).
Work for justice. Stand with others. And through it all, let your actions shout the love and grace of Christ.
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This post supports the study “The Testimony of Our Hope” in Bible Studies for Life and YOU.
Join Lynn Pryor and Chris Johnson as they discuss this topic:
Thank you for addressing this complex and urgent topic. I believe the church has a responsibility to address both injustice and violence. None of us fully understand the issues involved and we need to seek God’s guidance in how we live.