We are in the middle of multiple, simultaneous pandemics. COVID-19 has created a medical pandemic, while recent racially motivated violence has kick-started a cultural pandemic and the devolution of our society. But amid all of this, it is obvious we are in a spiritual pandemic.
We have wandered away from a value system that was established by God for how human beings are to live, act and relate to one another. Across racial and class lines, we have come up with our own standards for how to treat each other, and it has not done us good. It is absolutely clear right now that there needs to be a reset, and this is the time to do it — when it has everyone’s attention at the very same time.
Psalm 89:14 says that from God’s throne comes righteousness and justice. They are always to be balanced side-by-side.
Righteousness is the moral standard of right and wrong to which God holds people accountable based on His divine standard. Justice is the equitable and impartial application of God’s moral law in society.
God desires and requires his children to juxtapose both in our own daily doings. God wants to protect the life of the unborn in the womb, but He wants to see the justice of life once born, to the tomb. In other words, God wants a whole life agenda and not a term agenda. But unfortunately, all lives aren’t valued the same way in our country right now, and they ought to be, because every person is created in the image of almighty God.
It is now time, on a personal level and a systemic level, that we reverse the course of history that has brought us to this point and that we reverse it on every level. This is a defining moment for us as citizens to decide whether we want to be one nation under God or a divided nation apart from God. If we don’t answer that question right and if we don’t answer it quickly, we won’t be much of a nation at all.
God has four distinct spheres in which life is to be lived, and therefore, there are four areas in which changes need to be made, according to his kingdom agenda. The kingdom agenda is the visible manifestation of the comprehensive rule of God over every area of life.
This change first begins with the individual. We cannot change the nation if we don’t first allow God to change our hearts. We have to develop a heart that cares for our fellow man because they are created in the image of God. Not because they look like us or have what we have, but because they have the stamp of divine creation on them. And that means that you have the responsibility to reach out to somebody different than you, hear from that person, and build a relationship.
The harsh reality, yet one we must face, is that unfortunately, all lives aren’t valued the same way. All lives ought to be, because every person is created in the image of God. We are not to try and change others, if God can’t even change our own hearts. Unity starts with the individual. Each of us plays a part in healing our racial divide.
This individual transformation then must flow into the family as parents transfer these values to their children. We cannot expect people to think differently and act differently if they aren’t hearing differently from their parents, if they are not getting a righteous value system of judging people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.
But this is only the first step; families must then make connections with other families who are different from them and partner together to serve yet another family that is worse-off than theirs. This is where reconciliation happens, not in seminars but in service.
Additionally, the evangelical church needs to speak up where it has been silent on injustice and racism.
The biggest problem in the culture today is the failure of the church. We wouldn’t even have a racial crisis in America if the church had not consistently failed to deal with racism as the severe sin it is. But because the church has historically ignored and downplayed it, the issue still exists. Where the church is called to set an example, we have cowered.
The church must address racial, economic, health care and opportunity inequity, as well as recognize the systems that work against the fair treatment of people. In doing so, they help to create opportunities for all to responsibly take advantage of all that God has blessed us with in this nation. We must further hold people accountable to be responsible for their decision-making.
The church must speak with one voice, because God doesn’t ride the backs of donkeys or elephants. We have one God, one Lord Jesus Christ and one inerrant Word to speak from. And yes, we should protest evil in a righteous way. We should let our voices be heard, but then we must act because if we don’t act, all we did was have a speech. We must implement righteous principles, modeling them through the church, so the world can see what it looks like in the broader society. And we in the body of Christ must collectively call racism what it is: sin. Racism isn’t a bad habit. It isn’t a mistake. It is sin. The answer is not sociology, it’s theology.
And then, finally, we must challenge our civil leaders on all levels of government to be agents of healing and not division and to speak in such a way where unity is reinforced and not divisiveness. We must demand that the words that come out of their mouths and the way they say the words that come out of their mouths, be words of strength and kindness, not vitriol and meanness. Additionally, they should represent God’s standard for how civil government should function.
When those four areas — the individual, the family, the church and the community — begin to operate based on God’s standard, then He can feel comfortable to get back in the midst of us and make us repairers of the breach and healers of the land.
It is time for us to fervently pray and repent of where we fail to do what God says to do, and the way he says do it. We must ask God to realign ourselves under his authority while pursuing a relationship with him so that his word can overrule our ideas, perspectives and agendas.
Until we take seriously God’s word and its application in all the categories of our lives, we won’t see what he can do in turning this mess into a healing miracle — the miracle we’ve all longed for. Remember, if God is your problem, only God is your solution (2 Chronicles 15:3-6).
SOURCE: The Dallas Morning News, Tony Evans