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CRISWELL: Don’t miss this moment

Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-Fil-A said, “We cannot let this moment pass.” 

I agree. We can’t miss this moment.

It’s time we see and listen to what’s going on right before our eyes, to get our heads out of the sand and have a heart-to-heart talk, a come-to-Jesus talk.

Our nation is hurting and is in chaos.

This is an opportunity to really make a difference.

I watched the death of George Floyd, and I have waited 27 days to speak about this.

Why? Because I have been so mad, so angry, and I have discovered that when I preach out of anger, I overstate my case, shouted louder and often used hurtful rather than healing words and even sometimes looked foolish.

I am still upset, but there is a time to speak, and now it’s time.

James gives good advice: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” (James 1:19), and Paul adds, “Then the peace of God which transcends all understanding and will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:7.

Our God in heaven, our God of the Bible created one race and only one race: the human race.

We all come from Adam and Eve.  We are all a part of that family.

We are one human race. We are one family. We have the same blood with different shades of skin, and it must break the heart of God as he watches his children on this Earth not getting along.

In 1993, I heard Jeffrey Johnson speak in front of 62,000 men in Indy, and he said, “We have to recognize that anyone who claims God as their Father does not have a choice on who becomes their brothers and sisters.” 

So let’s really be the church. We can’t miss this moment to make a difference.

We all must acknowledge that racism is sin. James 2:1-4 says, “Do not show favoritism … and if you do show favoritism, you sin.”

The sin of racism is in the very fabric of our nation since its founding. Racism and slavery are our birth defects.

Empathy and listening are a start.

I have lived a long time, and I have met many people. I have never met a single African-American man or woman in this country who has not experienced racial discrimination.  Not one.

You and I should not put our head in the sand and act like this is not a huge problem. It is a huge problem and much of this anger is a result of the African-American people being mistreated, enslaved, broken down and marginalized.

Romans 12:15 tells us “to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep or mourn with those who mourn.”  That’s called empathy. 

By our silence, by our injustice, by our missing moments throughout history, the African-American cry of justice has fallen on deaf ears.

The very essence of Christianity is compassion, and if our African-American brothers and sisters are hurting, you and I should hurt with them and for them.

We need to stop arguing about all the little things and we need to start showing compassion to one another. 

What we witness in that video of George Floyd was appalling, the Minneapolis police officer using excessive force against an African-American man he pinned to the ground and handcuffed, and for more than eight minutes, had a knee in the back of his neck.  He ignored the pleas of George Floyd and the concerned bystanders. What kind of hardened conscience does that to a man? Sin.

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates his brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love his brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen,” 1 John 4:20.

Hatred and love don’t mix.   

What happened to George Floyd was wrong, and if there wasn’t a video, I dare say that officer would have gotten away with murder.

We need to understand that the protests we see are not because of that one single incident.  But it is the tipping point of years of injustice.

Let’s also pray for our local police and their families.  There would be anarchy if it wasn’t for these men and women.

I am saddened any time authority is misused or causes harm to people they are suppose to protect, and we know in every organization there are some bad employees. Hold them accountable, but we need police. 

So in our current culture what does Jesus-brand of love look like?

It is not enough to not be a racist. We must be anti-racism.

Proximity is not friendship. Knowing names of people who don’t look like you is not the same as having a friend who doesn’t look like you. Facts don’t change our minds. Friendship does. Jesus pursued people totally different from him and said I have called you friend. You did not choose me, but I chose you.

That’s what Jesus followers do: pursue others and love them, not from a distance, not in their hearts, but with our hands and feet and time and with invitations, eating together, etc.

All Americans must confess our sin and repent. 

Pray for divine intervention. Almighty God can initiate a spiritual awakening because our problem is sin, and only Jesus can save us from our sin and transform our hearts.

Go out of your way to practice love and forgiveness in every day relationships.