My Bible tells me that God is a God of justice. His justice is perfect, infinite, and inflexible. From this justice, flow all his commandments, laws, and expectations for us, His creation. Every human being is accountable to God. Every act of injustice is an offense against God. In one way or another, it will be repaid.
The brutal and unjust treatment of George Floyd is the latest in a long stream of injustices that cry out for a serious response. As a child of God, I am angered and grieved to see the video of a man being brutalized by those who should uphold the law.
These officers represent a small minority of the faithful and dedicated officers who do uphold the law throughout our society. As one police officer said, “No one hates a bad cop more than a good cop.” The same could be said by pastors, teachers, and pretty much every profession. The bad ones make it immeasurably harder for the decent ones to do their jobs. I stand with every faithful uniformed officer, even as I stand against all those who practice injustice.
God forbid that we should ever turn a blind eye to systemic evil against anyone. I have seen this first hand.
Years ago, my childhood best friend happened to be of a different race than me. I saw the looks, heard the comments, and felt some of the pain he endured.
As a young pastor in Chicago, I was excited when a house in my neighborhood went on the market. I told my good friend, also a pastor, about it. He looked at me like I was born yesterday. “Bill, I can’t move my family into your neighborhood!” He proceeded to patiently explain to me, a naively optimistic 20-something, the facts of life about being black in a majority white neighborhood.
God forgive us for allowing our brothers and sisters to not feel safe just because of the color of their skin. As my friend and mentor, Rev. Dr. Ray Allan Berryhill, has said, “The church has cried out, and rightly so, against abortion… But where is the outcry against the murder of black people?”
Our society is disintegrating before our eyes. We are witnessing the fruit of decades of ignoring God, and of erasing his truth, from our belief systems. By erasing the justice of God, we have erased a powerful disincentive against evil. Hell is the ultimate threat against injustice. But we have forgotten all that. We are witnessing the fruit of substituting human philosophy for the divine revelation of the laws of God.
The result is immorality, lawlessness, chaos, injustice cruelty, and brutality.
The result is the abuse of power, often with deadly consequences, and always breeding an atmosphere of fear.
The result is a situation in which there are about a dozen different sides and nobody can be civil to anybody who doesn’t see it exactly as they do.
The result is a demonic flooding of society with violence and death. Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways… There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:15,16,18)
Scripture teaches a frightening reality theologians call the retributive justice of God. It means that, in the end, nobody gets away with anything. God makes it so.
At the same time, Scripture teaches the remarkable reality of the undeserved love of God. He is not just the Hound of Heaven, chasing people with the stick of justice, he is supremely the Friend of Sinners, pursing us with open arms of love.
The sad thing is that the evil we see in our society is a foolish attempt to not only outrun his justice, but an irrational determination to evade his love. As a pastor and as a church, we stand against violence, tyranny, and oppression in all its forms.
We urge those who are called to protest to do so peacefully.
We urge those who are called to prosecute wrongdoing, whether by the police or by anyone, to remember that God is not a respecter of persons.
We urge those many faithful and dedicated police officers to stand strong, and to know that we stand with you and are praying for you.
We urge those who are involved in politics to operate with an eye on the Judge above every judge, to whom you will give account.
We urge those who are acting in senseless and lawless violence, to repent and quit running from the grace of God’s salvation.
We urge those who call themselves Christians to return to the Lord with your whole heart, remembering that the justice that we deserved for our unjustness, fell on our substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The only hope left for our land is a heartfelt return to Jesus Christ, both within the church and within the broader culture. But it must start in the church.
That is God’s call on my life. And that is God’s call on Pathway Church.
Pastor Ray has also said, this is a critical time in America. In his immortal words, “It can be our greatest hour if the church will be the church.”
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
Bill Giovannetti, Senior Pastor