Racial Divide, by Michele McClendon
There are so many things that my heart desires in the midst of the racial tensions and cultural unrest we are now experiencing in our country – understanding, empathy, repentance, forgiveness, healing, hope. It deepens my longing that my own black sons will grow to be men of godly character and holy affections who point others to the truth and beauty of the gospel, and to the hope and transformative power that are found in Christ. Jahmal and I want them to be men of courage and men of wisdom; men who are not too much at home in this world (James 4:14; I John 2:17), yet not afraid to work for the betterment of it, even as they point themselves and others to the hope of the coming kingdom when Jesus will come and make all things new.
Every loving parent might hope for similar things for their children. Perhaps like me they seek to shape good character within their children, while at the same time preparing them for a future that can at times be so uncertain.
Ecclesiastes 8:16-9:1 reads: When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe man’s labor on earth — his eyes not seeing sleep day or night — then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it. So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him.
What a sobering truth this was for me. But this same passage was also of great comfort: …the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands. Psalm 31:14-15 point us to a similar truth: But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.
This is a comfort to me because in stark contrast to the unpredictable and ever changing condition of the world stands the absolute and never changing goodness of God (Psalm 34:8; Psalm 31:19). And not only is He good, but for those who love Him He works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).
And this gives me hope.
And as believers we should be brimming with the hope that comes through knowing Christ. During these days of darkness and division, we should seize every opportunity to show forth the love of Christ, ushering others toward an eternal kingdom that cannot fail. Romans 12 so perfectly captures what our love should look like: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good (v. 9). Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn (vv. 14-15). Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone (v. 17). Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (v.21)
As believers in Christ we have a unique opportunity to advance the kingdom of God simply by loving others – by listening when we may not agree; by being willing to learn when we think we may have all the answers, and by being willing to serve and walk alongside the burdened, the grieving and those without hope. We should decry racial injustice, and injustice of all kinds, while at the same time loving the ones who may deny us the very justice we seek (Luke 6:35-36), entrusting ourselves — as did our Lord — to the One who judges justly (I Peter 2:23), and who will someday wipe every tear from our eyes (Rev 21:4).