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OGLE: God loves justice and peace

“No justice, no peace.”

Those four words have become the mantra of a movement against police brutality in our country.

The movement is not new. It started long ago and has only recently spilled over in fervent expression since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis.

Let me be plain. Black lives matter.

My heart breaks and I grieve with the African-American community.

Any mistreatment of any human being because of the color of their skin is reprehensible in the eyes of God and should be equally reprehensible to us.

Black lives matter because every life matters. All human beings, irrespective of ethnicity, gender, age, ability or socio-economic standing, are deserving of dignity because each one has been designed and created to be God’s image-bearer.

While I believe that statement to be true and helpful in shaping my worldview, it does nothing to help me understand what it’s like to actually be a person of color.

African-American parents have to have conversations with their children that I don’t have to have with mine.

I don’t worry about my kids going for a jog while wearing a hoodie.

I don’t worry about my kids being stopped by police for a routine traffic violation.

In so many ways, I am ill-equipped to write about this subject simply because I am not black.

My intention is certainly not to portray all police officers as bad cops. They’re not.

I am thankful for all the ways they sacrifice and place themselves in harm’s way for the safety of our city.

Instead of fostering further divide, I hope my words would have the exact opposite effect.

My desire is to unite our community around the commonalities received by our Creator.

Rather than floating along wherever the media-driven stream leads, I believe it’s time to turn toward truth and swim against that tide.

In a day when more and more people are abandoning the notion of the existence of universal and objective truth, arguing for such standards becomes incredibly difficult, at least until public actions betray popular sentiments.

By demanding justice the way our nation is currently doing so, the existence of absolute right and wrong becomes hard to deny.

If we’re willing to be honest, there is something within all of us that realizes murder is wrong. Theft and looting is wrong. Violence and vandalism is wrong.

Where does that come from?

The God of the Bible is the God of justice (Isaiah 30:18). He loves justice (Isaiah 61:8). He promises that one day, every injustice will be judged with equity and his wrath will be exacted against every sin (Psalm 98:9).

God’s commitment to justice even cost him his own Son.

Isaiah 53:5 says, “[Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace….”

Before “no justice, no peace” was the mantra of a modern-day civil rights movement, it was the mandate of God.

The Bible even tells us what God expects of us now: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

Though veiled by the brokenness and grime of our sin natures, the image of our Creator shows through each time we recognize injustice, seek to do justice and labor for justice.

Those who commit corruption should be held accountable.

One day, the Lord will put an end to racism and all other crimes against humanity.

I long for that day, but until then, we cannot allow such acts to continue.

Rather than taking sides and casting stones, what if we started by taking a look at ourselves?

What if we admitted the injustices we have committed?

What if we confessed them to God and to one another?

What if we repented of them?

What if we stopped seeing one another as the enemy and started listening to one another?

What if we tried to understand one another?

What if we began giving dignity to one another by serving one another?

Wouldn’t we then be a lot like our Creator who said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many?” (Mark 10:45)

What if we sought to lead people into right relationship with God by sharing and showing the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

What if we prayed for God’s kingdom to come “on Earth as it is in heaven?” (Matthew 6:10)

Wouldn’t Winchester then be a lot closer to the justice and the peace we crave?

Scott Ogle is the senior pastor at Central Baptist Church.