By Pastor Paul Lawler
As we process the horrors of what took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, last Saturday, would you take time to consider the following?
- Racism is sin.
While we are all Americans, our citizenship as Christ followers reflects an ultimate allegiance to the King and His Kingdom (Philippians 3:20). As Stanly Hauerwas once said, “Christians must resist racism as Christians, not as Americans.” The Scriptures speak clearly to the fact that, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28 NASB).
No human being is superior or inferior to another. All human beings, no matter their ethnic origin, are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and are of sacred worth.
Any person who professes the name of Christ and has a racist heart needs to repent.
- We should speak out.
Personally, I never thought a day would come in my adult life when white supremacists and neo-Nazis carrying weapons would be marching openly on American streets. Just like many of you, I am shocked.
This is not a time for passive silence in the face of evil. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Let us proclaim to our children and grandchildren the evils of hate. Let us declare with our neighbors the deplorable lie that any race is superior to another. Let us be willing to declare from the housetops that all people are to be treated with dignity, worth and fairness.
- We should manifest extraordinary fruits of the Holy Spirit.
God grant mercy that we would be a people who would write a different story than what we have seen in Charlottesville, Baltimore, and other places in America in recent years. While we, as God’s people, are to manifest love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control; let us be particularly aware of sowing the fruit of the Spirit into relationships with African Americans. Let us be mindful of being just and fair in all relationships with all people. May God give great grace to all of us in being instruments of breaking the chains of injustice.
- We should pray.
Pray for the victims and their families in Charlottesville. Pray for God’s grace upon our country. Pray for God’s grace to work in perpetrators of hate. Pray for God’s grace to work in healing our nation.
It was James Meritt who once said, “If you don’t believe in amazing grace for every race then you need amazing grace yourself.” May God have grace upon us all.
Paul Lawler is the Lead-Pastor of Christ Church UMC, and founder of The Immersion School, a discipleship training center in Birmingham, Alabama. He and his wife, MJ, have four children and one daughter-in-law. In addition to serving as a pastor, Paul and his brother, Dallas area businessman, Patrick Lawler, founded the Patricia B. Hammonds Girl’s Home for 60 orphans at high risk for human trafficking in Thailand. The home is operated through the international ministry of the Compassionate Hope Foundation. Paul also serves on the North Alabama Conference Discipleship Team. He often tweets Kingdom thoughts at @plawler111