The following reflects a statement I read at First Baptist Church – McKinney on July 10, 2016. It was part of a joint statement made with Lead Pastor, Dr. Richard Mark Lee. The statements from Dr. Lee have been omitted.
As a Society, We have Problems.
The events of the last 7 days continue to highlight problems which are individual, systemic, longstanding and complex. The sheer volume of incidents… from Baton Rouge, LA to Falcon Heights, MN to Thursday Night in Dallas to Atlanta, Nashville, TN, San Francisco, CA, Indianapolis, IN, even San Antonio, TX last night where someone shot at the police headquarters building. Who knows what the coming week holds… the sheer volume of events all verify a heightening sense of national unrest that will likely not be diffused quickly.
It’s easy to jump to conclusions and pick a side. As kingdom ambassadors, Micah 6:8 reminds us the best side is to stand on the side of justice. We have more than a skin/race problem we have a sin problem. There are signs of hopeful progress when people in positions of influence understand the root issues at stake. An example is Russell Moore (President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC). He has aptly stated, “When one considers the history of our country in which African-Americans have lived with trauma from the very beginning, the initial trauma being the kidnapping and forced enslavement of an entire people with no standing whatsoever before the law. For the African-American community, these present situations often reverberate with a history of state-sanctioned violence, in a way that many white Americans – including white evangelicals – often don’t understand.” To our African American brothers and sisters, we want to say on behalf of our pastors and staff, we stand in solidarity with you today.
We Must Work for Justice (Micah 6:8)
We call for justice. We don’t condone/support any law enforcement members using excessive, even deadly force when that force is not necessary. Psalm 139:14 teaches us that human beings created in the image of God deserve the same kind of reverential respect evidenced by God when He fearfully created us in His image. We don’t condone/support any form of disrespect for law enforcement members, especially as evidenced in the ambush style assassination of officers in Dallas on Thursday, July 7th. Romans 13 teaches us that law enforcement members actually serve as ministers of God for our protection and good. We owe them our respect and support. As kingdom ambassadors of Jesus Christ, we are taught to be salt & light, leaven & mustard seed, as we engage in every sector/domain/mountain of our society and refuse to stay comfortably tucked away in our church sub culture.
Though We Are Divided as a Nation, There is Hope!
No single political party is the answer. Violence returned for violence is not the answer. Jesus is our only and best hope. Peter correctly acknowledged this in John 6:66 when he said, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.” He is our only solution at the core to the problems we face as a society. When Jesus reigns as King in the heart of any person, it is the starting point for living out Micah 6:8, to seek justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.
We have different backgrounds, different experiences and different perspectives. Yet, as Christians, we are united together as brothers and sisters with one common father, God, and one common Savior, Jesus. Because we are family, we respect each other, love each other, learn from each other, struggle with each other, weep and pray with each other. In John 13:34-35, Jesus tells us that our authentic love for each other, put on display for a needy and watching world WILL convince them of their need to ‘join the kingdom family’.
Racial injustice at its core is a sin matter, and that makes it a Gospel issue. Respect for civil government is a Gospel issue. The Gospel compels us to be compassionate, to be active, to be involved and to be confident that in the end, Jesus triumphs over evil. Why? Because Jesus promised that the gates of hell can’t stop the advance of the church. Let the church advance! It is no accident that God has raised up and is raising up FBC-McKinney as a multi-generational, multi-ethnic church with a missional DNA and planted us in a most desirable city. It is no accident that we had our own experience in 2015 at Craig Ranch from which we have grown and are learning how to better work together for justice. Let’s pray that ‘best practice’ models continue to develop in communities across our nation.
No matter what happens in the immediate days to come… there is coming a day when Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes and bring his perfect justice to bear upon the whole earth. Until then we love one another, we work for justice, we show mercy, we walk humbly before our God, we advance the Kingdom of God by offering every person the opportunity to be born again into Christ’s glorious Kingdom so they can become new creations. People are changed one person at a time, not a society in mass. Commit to be a Kingdom change agent with one person.