Opinion: Bringing reconciliation to brokenness: Five initial responses for the church

By Chris Crain
Executive director, Birmingham Metro Baptist Association

Memorial services, vigils, marches and protests have spread across the world to remember George “Big” Floyd.

Floyd, 46, was an African-American man who was killed when a police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds during an arrest outside of Cup Foods in Minneapolis on May 25.

Earthly possessions can be replaced, but George Floyd will never be able to sit across the table from his family again in this life.

We pray for the Floyd family and our mourning nation that we may find comfort. God is our refuge and strength.

What about the Church?

But what about the church? How must the body of Christ address the realities of injustice, mistrust and racial strife in our fallen world?

In discussions with Rev. John King, BMBA Church and Community Relations Specialist, I have recommended responses to our churches regarding the recent issues in our nation.

He and I pray that all people, regardless of race or background, will be objects of our compassion and understanding: “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us” (1 John 3:23, ESV).

Five Initial Responses for the Church

  1. Lament: Lament the injustices in our nation. Lament the death of George Floyd and the brokenness that exists through sin and evil in the world (Gen. 3).
  2. Listen: Listen to people of color. Listen to the struggles and problems that most white Americans cannot relate to from personal experience. Don’t speak too soon. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood. “Be quick to hear and slow to speak” (James 1:19, ESV).
  3. Learn: Learn from our sins and failures and turn from them to Jesus Christ — our only Hope.
  4. Lead: Lead this generation to a better understanding of the truth of the gospel. Our gospel is the truth of reconciliation to God and reconciliation with people. The dividing walls between us are torn down through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection (Eph. 2:11-22).
  5. Let our voices be heard: Within our circles of influence, we need to speak up for others (Prov. 31:8). With wisdom, clarity and truth, we use our influence to lift all who are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). The Bible reminds us, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18, ESV). Thus, speaking up must be supported by actions that serve to elevate others.

Gospel message is reconciliation

The church is centered on a message of reconciliation with God through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for our sins. The blood Jesus shed is the only basis for reconciliation between broken people.

The good news of the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes — Black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Native American or any other race, nationality or ethnicity.

These are “initial” responses — somewhere to begin for the glory of God. The work must go on in every generation as we look forward to a day when every tribe, people and language will stand before Christ the Lamb in eternity (Rev. 7:9).

Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This column originally appeared in the June 18, 2020, BMBA local edition of The Alabama Baptist