"Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you." Deuteronomy 16:20 ESV
Last evening, I watched the video of the horrific and sickening murder of George Floyd a 46-year-old black man in Minneapolis. There is no other way to explain it other than pure evil. Much too sadly, this is not an isolated death. Hardly a week passes that some racially motivated death is in the news.
In Deuteronomy, Moses relates God's plan for the people of Israel. They are to be a people set apart from other nations. They were to follow the one true God, and they were to live in a manner that was pleasing to God. They were to live righteously, and part of living righteously was to live justly. During his life, Jesus demonstrated what it meant to live righteously. As disciples of Christ, and the one true God, like the people of Israel we are required to follow the same command to show justice. Anything less is unacceptable.
What can we do? First, we must recognize within ourselves, our communities, and yes even our churches that injustices exist. This reflection must start us individually. We need to acknowledge the simple fact that we are all beautifully and wonderfully made by the hand of God -- and we are all different! We may be different in the color of our skin, in our gender, and our sexual orientation, but we are all without exception the children on the same God. We must also accept that sometimes these differences make us uncomfortable. Secondly, we need to be willing to change. We all come with years of experience and preconceived ideas, the building blocks of who we have become. We must also come to the sometimes painful realization that our preconceived ideas may be invalid, and our experiences may have shaped us in unhealthy ways. What are those things that make us uncomfortable? How would God see us change? Lastly, how will we allow this new change to affect our interactions with others? What changes will we make to our behavior? For example, will we stop that person who tells the inappropriate joke? Will we speak out publicly against injustice? What is God's expectation for us as his just people?
God, we are thankful for the righteous example of your son Jesus. We acknowledge that we have failed to be a just people. For too long we have allowed injustices to exist. Help us as we take personal accountability of ourselves and our beliefs and that we seek only your will, setting aside all our preconceived ideas. Mold us and make us into the vessel you desire for us. Amen.