ANNA FARLEY '21 AND RAPHAEL PARENT '21
In these trying times, when we continually find ourselves asking, “Why, God?”, it is prudent to take a step back and dive into the Word for answers. God reveals that justice and reconciliation are the path to moving our country forward, uniting people who have been divided for too long.
No matter the color of our skin, as Christians, we all mourn for what happened to George Floyd. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” White students mourn alongside their black classmates and black members of this society.
Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune but accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate that suffering. So many of us have the desire to act with compassion. We want to help but wonder what we can do. We can look to Jesus, who was fueled by compassion. Matthew 9:36 says, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.” And, in Matthew 14:14, the Bible says, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” The Holy Spirit has given believers this same sense of compassion so that we will act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.
The Christian approach must be to use two biblical principles as our guide for moving forward: justice and reconciliation. MPCS eleventh-grade Bible teacher Mr. Dereko Robertson says that, unfortunately, many people want to just skip justice and move directly to reconciliation. The belief that this is possible is a dangerous fallacy and goes against everything we know about our just God. We are only able to be reconciled to God because the punishment for our sin was poured out on Jesus Christ at the cross. Every single sin had to be paid for. This is what is called retributive justice.
Retributive justice is necessary because many people feel that nothing will ever change. They feel as though atrocities will continue without significant punishment. People need to be able to believe that true justice will be served on their behalf. After retributive justice comes restorative justice: the harm must be repaired. Too many in society want to overlook justice and skip ahead to reconciliation. As Christians, we crave peace and unity, but that cannot happen without recognizing our wrongdoings first. The just punishment for all sin is death. Instead, our gracious Savior died on the cross and took the place of death so that we could live.
What, then, does justice look like in this current context? Justice is recognizing that we are wrong and that we need God to fix our situation for us. The crime committed against George Floyd was one of many wrong situations. In Matthew 22:34, Jesus says, “Hearing that Jesus has silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus replied ‘Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.’” We must love one another – all others.
RECONCILING HEARTS AND MINDS
Once justice has been satisfied, we can move towards reconciliation. Truly, being reconciled is being unified as one body in Christ. The book of 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, is devoted to reconciliation, including verses 13-21:
“If we are out of our minds, as some say, it is for God. If we are in our right mind, it is for you, for Christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all, and, therefore, all died, and he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on, regard no one from the worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here. All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them, and he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.”
Because Christ saved us from our wrongdoings, we can now live in him. The time is now to bring justice and reconcile in Jesus's name. Jesus came to save all skin colors because he was fueled by compassion. God wants us to be unified in sharing his love. We are a community who was brought together by the love of Jesus Christ. Let’s stand together on the foundation of his Word to back this up.
A CALL TO ACTION
The MPCS mission statement asks our community to honor God, love others, and walk in Truth. It is the hope and prayer that each student who walks on campus lives by that, loving others no matter what skin color. Consider the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” As Christians, that’s our job – to be the light in this dark world. Atlanta Mayor Keshia Lance Bottoms said, chaos is not going to fix anything. A united force in Christ will bring justice and peace. God is our foundation. When storms come, we hold steadfast in Him, knowing He will guide us.
Watch what’s going on in the world right now and become a light to the darkness. As Head of School Dr. Tim Wiens said, “Today, friends, I implore you to speak up, to speak out, and to come together around what we, MPCS, can and will do about justice, about equality, and about the sanctity of all life. Jesus gave His life so that we may live and so we may help others recognize the value of all life.”
Too many people think, “My one voice has no meaning.” or, “My skin color is white. How can I help?” This issue changes in the hearts of each person, one at a time, growing to a community change, and then America at-large. One voice does matter; it will make changes.
THE VISION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Imagine what our world would look like without racism. To be an activist, all you need is a vision. Pray for that vision from Jesus Christ. Pray for justice, and ask for peace. Take a moment to evaluate how you treat others and what you think in your own heart about what Jesus would do.
Change starts with us. This generation is going to change racism. It’s our turn to fight the sins of the world. Stand up for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Change what’s going on. Make the difference you want to see. Today is the day that we stop looking at each other based on skin color, gender, or ethnicity. Today is the day we start striving for greatness and for the love of Jesus Christ.
Click here to learn more about what CommUNITY means at Mount Paran Christian School and to watch the authors' full video.