(Kelly has been posting on Facebook regarding the recent events in Minneapolis—the death of George Floyd while in police custody. I wanted to encourage her in her stand for truth and justice, yet share that this is not a new battle.)
Kelly, I am so proud of you for taking a stand for what is right, even in the midst of “push back” and misunderstanding. All people should be appalled at what has happened and demand change. Yet, what we are facing is not only white versus black in America; it is “man’s inhumanity to man,” which has been with us since the beginning of time. It is playing out in our generation, but it is not new. In our history it has been with us in nation against nation; it has existed between Gentiles and Jews, men and women, Christian and non-Christian, Protestant and Catholic, Protestant and Protestant, Republican and Democrat, and even now, in the midst of a pandemic, between unmasked and masked!
Ask the Irish, Italian, and other immigrants, about what they faced when they came seeking a new life. Ask the women who for generations were, and in some cases still are, treated as property rather than people. Ask the Native Americans about what was taken from them when the Europeans discovered America. Ask the unborn child whose life is taken, not given the chance to live. Ask the Jewish people during Hitler’s time. Ask the slave on the white man’s plantation. Ask the mentally handicapped person who just wants to live in a pleasant group home in our neighborhood, and so many, many more.
We are dealing with a larger and eternal issue of the heart. God created us for good and for community, with Him and with others. Again and again, His word tells us to love one another. When He saw the anger and jealousy in Cain’s heart towards his brother Abel—the very first family of creation—He said, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7) Like Cain, generation after generation has failed to “rule over it.” Generation after generation has created people with hearts of stone. The remedy is still the same—only the God Who made us is able to save us. He is the One Who says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
Now I know some will give me flak for these comments. That, also, is nothing new. I am tired of hearing that my faith “is fine for weak people,” as though it were merely a soft blanket to cuddle with while I nurse my wounds. The true power of the Gospel is the greatest power there is! I have witnessed and experienced the amazing heart transplant mentioned above. I have known those who, by this power, commit to live for the sake of others, even to the loss of their own lives. Some will say that there are non-believers who have good hearts too. Yes! God has instilled in each of us, whether we believe in Him or not, the capacity to sense right from wrong, good from evil—it is from Him! Like Cain, the choices we make will determine the hardness of our hearts. But we know, if we are honest, that each of us has failed many times. When I speak of the power of the Gospel, I am not speaking about a set of rules and principles; I am talking about the person of Jesus Christ and an on-going, genuine, living relationship with Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. He does the transplant; He is the transplant!
We are called to do and be what we can, but we are also called to pray and ask God for what we cannot do and be. We pray for ourselves and for our world. We pray for new hearts! That’s why Jesus came; that’s why He died; so that you and I can have hearts of flesh, drawing from His strength and presence to live justly, kindly, and nobly—to love one another as He has loved us. The enemy of our souls knows that “united we stand, divided we fall.”
So, Kelly, you have entered the battlefield that has existed since the beginning of time. You can say with the ages what Robert Burns wrote, “Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!” And God mourns with us. May His presence and strength be with you always to fight the good fight.