Two weeks ago, I watched George Floyd die. I cried. But here’s the catch: I cried because of what I learned two weeks prior. You see, two weeks prior, I watched Ahmaud Arbery die. I was unfazed. I’ve been numbed to seeing or hearing of people, of many different ethnicities, unjustifiably losing their lives. I immediately went into analysis. What were the circumstances? Was he up to no good? Were his killers up to no good? What did their history look like? I had completely neglected what Paul addresses in Romans 12:14-17:
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.”
I came across this verse a few days after watching the Ahmaud Arbery video. I cried. I wept over my own callousness. I wept over the loss of human life. I wept over the pain of a family who now sees and hears of their child’s death every day in the media. Unfortunately, Christians can lose sight of what Paul has written in Romans 12. Now, this doesn’t only apply to problems of injustice. Think about COVID-19. How many hours have we spent in analysis? Face mask or no face mask, social distancing, it’s not that bad, this drug over that drug, that political party is to blame, China is to blame, and the list goes on. But did we weep or mourn with those families all over the world who have lost parents, children, siblings, or friends so quickly? I’ll be the first to admit guilt. When a school shooting happens, do we mourn with those families who now must plan funerals for their children? Or do we immediately begin justifying whether we’re for or against gun control? Yes, the Lord gives us a conscience to work through those issues, but He calls us to something bigger than our political affiliation. He calls us to associate with the lowly. He calls us to give thought to what is honorable.
On the day of George Floyd’s funeral, a video surfaced discussing his criminal record. Others have been on record saying it was his fault because he resisted, or he had drugs in his system. This response stirred many emotions in my own heart. When I was ten years old, my older brother was killed in a car accident. He was 19. The accident was his fault. He fell asleep while driving. I can’t imagine if on the day of his funeral, someone were to say to me, “Well it was his fault. He fell asleep.” But the exact opposite happened. Men and women from our church came to our house and cried with us. They mourned with us. I remember one person telling my parents, “We’re here for you, and we’re not going anywhere.” They didn’t care about the circumstances leading to my brother’s death. We hurt, so they hurt with us.
It’s been 22 years since my brother’s death, and those people still have not gone anywhere. Oh church, can we live like this? Can we put aside our preferences and fleshly desires and mourn with those who mourn? Can we associate with the lowly? Instead of sharing that meme that seeks to cut down, can we plead with the Lord to reconcile our nation? The world is watching. We must show them that we’re here with them, we love them, and we’re not going anywhere. And we can still rejoice and rest in the promise of Psalm 30, because we know that while weeping may last for the night, joy will come with the morning!
Who is in my life that needs to hear the words “I love you, I’m here for you, and I’m not going anywhere”?
Links in this section are Amazon Affiliate links to books we find helpful
Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discoverign the Grace of Lament
by Mark Vroegrop
This book seeks to restore the lost art of lament in order to help readers discover the power of honest wrestling with the questions that come with grief and suffering.
Relational Wisdom 360 (RW360) was founded by Ken Sande, who is also the founder of Peacemaker Ministries. According to their website, “Relational wisdom, in essence, is the desire and ability to obey Jesus’ timeless command, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart … and love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matt. 22:37-39). In modern terms, relational wisdom may be defined as your ability to discern emotions, interests and abilities in yourself and others, to interpret this information in the light of God’s Word, and to use these insights to manage your responses and relationships successfully.” RW360 offers a wide variety of resources (training courses, books, blogs, free downloads, etc.) to help individuals, churches, and organizations become better peacemakers and thus better examples of the gospel. They even have curriculums to teach children how to become better peacemakers. You can download their free RW360 app on your smartphone to gain immediate access to hundreds of articles, videos, and FAQs for applying peacemaking principles to your life and relationships.Writing for the explicit purpose of helping believers struggling with sin, Dr. Adams explains in clear terms how Paul sets forth divine strategy in doing so. There is a thorough discussion of Romans 6 and 7 in which directions for fighting the flesh are given. The biblical process of overcoming habits and evil tendencies is explained. And the way to a new life of victory over sin is outlined.
Prayer Focus (Algeria):
There is growth in the Algerian church over the past decade. While impossible to assess accurately, some believe the number of believers far exceeds 100,000. New fellowships are popping p all over the country. This is in part due to the commitment of Berber believers to move into unreached, Arab areas in order to sow the seeds of the good news. Pray God will continue to open doors and avail people of the gospel.
Bible Study Tip:
The first two stages of Bible study we’ve looked at over the last several weeks are “Comprehension” and “Interpretation”. The third stage is “Application”. Once you have dug deep into the details of the passage, followed cross-references, and looked at external resources to help answer questions and enrich your understanding, start thinking about how the passage in question applies to your knowledge of God as Father, Christ as Savior, and you as a sinner saved by grace. You can do this by answering this three-part question: What does this passage teach us about God? About you (or your sin)? And about Christ, the gospel, and/or who you are in Christ?
The work of God cannot be done in the energy of the flesh. Too much religious activity is just old Adam in his Sunday clothes.
What do you call a fake noodle?