Long enough, God - you’ve ignored me long enough.
I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough.
Long enough I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain.
Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me.
Take a good look at me, God, my God; I want to look life in the eye,
So no enemy can get the best of me or laugh when I fall on my face.
Psalm 13:1-4 from The Message
As much as I like knowing what is going on in the world, watching the news is heartbreaking. With smartphones everywhere, we now can witness horrific events as they happen. There is no denying that racial profiling is real, that minorities have reason to be afraid, and that police are now being targeted themselves. Gun violence is becoming almost commonplace in our country; we hear about shootings every week. The violence of racism has also created great pain in our nation. For a while I thought that we had made great progress eliminating racism, but obviously that isn’t the case. Again and again, we hear of African Americans being racially profiled, being distrusted, being targeted. The “Black Lives Matter” movement reminds us that there is a large group of people who feel that they do not matter in this culture. The reason the motto is “Black Lives Matter” instead of “All Lives Matter” is because it is understood that in our society white lives already matter.
While I sincerely believe that most police are good people who are doing their best to keep us safe, those police do racially profile and who do misuse their power have created larger problems; now, some people think most police are corrupt. Just as we cannot generalize about people because they are dark skinned, we also cannot generalize that all cops are bad.
Somehow we have gotten ourselves into a culture of violence and a cycle of fear – a tragic and fatal combination. Fear is all around us – each side is afraid the other will hurt them. What we do not understand frightens us – whether that is another culture, another life style, even just another’s epidural pigmentation. Add the availability of guns to the mix, and it is no wonder we are in such a mess.
As the psalmist says, this has gone on long enough! It has been long enough that we have suffered through hatred, racism, and violence without a solution; long enough that we have tolerated people hurting one another; long enough that we have waited quietly and hoped patiently for change. It has been long enough!
It is time for us to stand up with fearless faith and bring an end to these horrifying and tragic problems that plague our world! We need to combat the fear that leads to violence and bring in the peace that is so desperately needed. Many people think the opposite of faith is doubt, but that isn’t accurate. The opposite of faith isn’t doubt, it’s fear. So if we want to extinguish fear, we need to use our faith as the starting point.
I firmly believe the church is called to take the lead on bringing peace to the earth. Our job is to help usher in God’s kingdom, to be part of the transformation of this world. As God’s people we cannot remain silent. We are called by God to not just foster peace, but to insist on it! To demand it! One of the reasons the church in America is in decline right now is that we have become insular and self-focused. We have spent so much of our energy getting people into the church that we have neglected to get ourselves out of church and out serving the world. We are the best hope for transforming this world. We are God’s people, the Body of Christ on earth, and we have some problems to solve.
Now it is our turn – to refuse to let hatred, prejudice, and injustice continue, to continually oppose racism whenever and wherever we encounter it, to put an end to violence whether it is directed at a minority or law enforcement, and to help usher in the Peaceable Kingdom God has promised. Because, this hatred and fear has gone on long enough, and God has much better plans for this world than the violence we have grown accustom to.
May God guide us to the path of peace and justice, which so far has eluded us!