“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth,” Ps 46: 10.
As our city was shook by the cruel act of murder, when our police officers were ambushed in Dallas last week, our hearts just sank. You do not expect those who are protecting your right to engage in a peaceful protest be the victims of such a heinous act. Something that we trust to be there for us was taken away, and a nation was alarmed and confused. Our reactions range from fear to anger, and rightly so. What happened to a peaceful and civil discourse?
Of course this was a usual occurrence for most of the immigrant population, who fled their countries of origin and find themselves in cities like Dallas. They know how it makes them feel, and they do not like it. People’s differences get solidly established and make it almost impossible to have a civil discourse, and resort to resolving their differences through the barrel of a gun, and the outcome is always painful. The only way to resolve their difference seems to them that one side has to win at all cost. The question to ask is what is the response of the church to be?
James reminds us how we are to deal with one another as he speaks about the mistreatment of the poor. He says, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. … Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment,” James 1: 8-9, 12-13. When a segment of the population feels mistreated, thus the reason for last week’s demonstration, criminals like the shooter in Dallas find an opportunity to justify their criminal acts. And this is absolutely wrong. Loving your neighbor as yourself means persevering in love even when you are or feel mistreated.
To the church is given the ministry of reconciliation as St. Paul has taught us in his Epistle to the Corinthians saying, “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 appeals through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God,” 2 Cor. 6:18-20.
Sin is always sin whether it is committed by the powerful or the powerless. The only way out of our sinfulness is through Christ Jesus, who is the way the truth and the life. And the church should have no other message for a sinful world, except to call people to repentance and to a life of reconciliation! Be reconciled to God and to one another – easier said than done, but only possible through the powerful message of the Gospel. Be still and know that He is God!
By: Rev. Yohannes Mengsteab
Mission & Ministry Facilitator, Area B