There are no words to fully express the anguish we feel when human life is taken in cold blood. There are no explanations that can free our hearts from the sorrow we feel. It is true, all human life matters. We aren't valuable because of our political views or for choosing the 'right side' of the racial debate. Human beings have inherent value because we are all created in the image of a holy and awesome God.
It is critical to remind ourselves that when human lives are slaughtered, no one has been more violated and no one has more right to be angry, than God. For every injustice of murder in the world, God's image has been raped, distorted and ravaged. Every time one human takes the life of another, the glory of God is mangled into the image of His enemy. With every bullet, every bomb, every act of terror, God's image is defamed among the nations. For all these injustices, God is angry. However, because of His immeasurable love for us, He chose to pour out His anger on His Son. Willingly, Jesus has absorbed the wrath of God for our injustices.
I'm afraid that civil rights movements, however noble they may be, will never bring the peace we need for our division. We will never be able to protest or legislate the hatred from our world. Making hate illegal will never consummate unity. Left to ourselves, our racial divisions are incurable. The only solution for our nation and for our world is the hope we find in Jesus.
“14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility... 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” Ephesians 2:14-16, 19-20
God has turned His hostility on Himself as an act of pure love for us. Rather than repaying us for what we have done, He sent His son to endure the wrath that we all deserve for our rebellion towards God and our hatred towards one another. Becoming enraged at someone on the other side of the racial issue doesn't solve our problem. Anger, hate-filled speech and blaming others will never promote healing. Protesting and social media-rants will never produce peace.
Surrendering our right to be 'right' is the only avenue towards true peace. Turning our hearts in gratitude towards Jesus is our only consolation.
“27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:27-28
In Christ, there is no longer black or white, me or you; there is only 'us' and 'we'. We don't get to choose who our brothers and sisters are. The cross of Jesus beacons all to come. Each of us from our own backgrounds, cultures, experiences and colors. Each of us mutually disqualified and equally undeserved of his love. And when we get to the cross, we find that we have been united with those with whom we once opposed. In Christ, somehow the hostility is gone and we stand united as His children under the single banner of His love. Any remaining division among us is a remnant-reflection of a former life that has passed away and no longer has control over our hearts and minds. We are His. And if we are His, then we belong to one another.
“17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
If you are a Christian, then you have been given a place of honor among all of creation to display the image of God as ambassadors of reconciliation, engaging in color-blind, grace-filled, ready-to-forgive love for all fellow image bearers. Therefore, let us surrender our anger and outrage to the cross. Let us once again place our hope in Jesus and Jesus alone who has made us all one through his death, burial and resurrection. Let us chose our words with care. Let us allow the love of Jesus to bring us to our knees in prayer asking God for healing and strength for the families of those involved in the Dallas shooting. Let's pray for our own contributions to the bent-ness of our world. Let us ask for forgiveness for our sins as we extend forgiveness to those who sin against us. Let us pray for a bold and unwavering stand among the Christians in our world for the hope we have in Jesus.