Unless you’re living in a bubble or just don’t care, the events that have owned the headlines this year, other than the most ridiculous presidential race in history, probably have you wondering how this comes to an end. The racial tension primarily being manifested between young black men and police is demonstrating a systemic issue that’s obviously unresolved and is not going away. I’m sure we can all agree that pointing blame and accusing others will not bring peace to the turmoil that we’re experiencing in our culture.
But, why does it seem that racial division, injustice, and oppression can’t come to end? Why can’t we experience healing and unity in our nation?
May I suggest that a large part of the problem is that we’re looking for others to fix the issue and we’re placing expectations upon people, governments, and movements that they simply are incapable of living up to. Why is this true? For two reasons:
First, no government, movement, or authority truly understands the problem. Because of that, they expect to resolve the issue by asking other people to change. To them, the reason oppression exists is always someone else’s fault. The feminist and homosexual movements think the problem is the masculine male, the black lives movement thinks it racist cops, the socialist movement thinks the problem is rich people, the liberal movement thinks it’s capitalism, and the religious movement things the problem is behavior. They’re all wrong.
The problem is us – all of us. The reason oppression exists is because living on planet earth are a lot of broken people. We’re all broken. The problem is sin and no one’s sin on earth is worse than mine.
The reason no government, movement, or authority can fix the problem is because their only solution is that someone else needs to change.
This is easy to see as the tragedies that consume the headlines result almost exclusively with the pointing of fingers. Social media feeds are inundated with blame: “he should have complied,” or “he shouldn’t have been committing the crime,”or “he was innocent and only minding his own business,” or “they should not have used excessive force!” Divisive rhetoric that has a language of “us and them,” will never help.
Here’s a truth that we all need to settle upon:
If a black man is killed by a police officer, whether guilty or innocent, we should grieve! If a police officer is killed in the line of duty we should grieve! In no case, whether we believe the young black man was a criminal or if we believe the cop is a bigot should we ever cheer. We all should and need to grieve! Until there are tears running down enough cheeks we will not see change.
The truth is that we all need to change.
Secondly, no government, movement, or authority has the means to fix the problem. Let me explain this in a way I think will resonate: why is it that even though we have America’s first black president it seems that racial tensions are worse than ever? Why hasn’t our president fixed this? The answer is simple.
We’re expecting him to do something he simply cannot do.
The division, oppression, and hurt we see in our nation will never end because a president, white or black, stands at a lectern and tells people they need to behave differently. The problem can’t be fixed by resdistribution of wealth, it can’t be solved by more government aid, and it will never be resovled by congress. These people and programs simply do not have the means.
So, how can it change? How can oppression end?
When Jesus came on the scene, he came to cross every boundary of oppression, injustice, racism, and hate which people were either not willing or unable to cross. Jesus was the first. He demonstrated by his actions that the divisions of gender, race, or socioeconomic difference can be crossed if someone is willing. Of course, he was willing but it also cost him big-time. Maybe that’s why it’s so difficult. We’re willing to see change as long as someone else is paying the price.
We’re willing to see change as long as someone else is willing to do the changing.
That, however, brings us to the truth of the only way that oppression, injustice, and hate will ever decrease. It will only happen through sacrifice. It will only happen through the people who are equipped to make a difference in something that no one else seems to be able to solve. If governments, movements, and authorities can’t do it, who can?
What I mean by “church” are people who believe and follow Jesus Christ. He is the Lord of the church and has given his people a promise – a new heart. It’s only through this heart that we will see grief become sacrifice. Sacrifice is the only way oppression ends. If you want to see what that looks like, look at the cross.
The church is the only institution in the world equip to bring an end to oppression, injustice, and hate. There is no other!
It’s time Christians stop expecting someone else to fix the problem. We must reach, we must go, we must span the gap!
This is where the conversation must begin but it will take more than talk. Someone needs to change – and it’s us.