I follow an Instagram account that shares detailed stories of the suffering our African American ancestors experienced during slavery.
These are often jaw-dropping accounts of how black men and women were viewed and treated much of the time…as animals.
It’s heartbreaking to read about crying children being ripped away from their frightened mothers, to see men and women sold into slavery against their will, stripping them of their freedoms.
As we process all this, we have to ask ourselves: What should our response to injustice be as believers?
Should we get angry and pray? Angry and fight? Where should we even direct our anger and outrage?
As you ponder this question in your heart, and mourn for those who’ve suffered in silence, I encourage you to consider these four things before you take action.
1. Nothing escapes the Lord’s watchful eye.
God sees everything. Reading these accounts, I often imagined a scared individual tucked away from society, sitting in fear or shame, mistreated and abused. But I remind myself that they were never alone. We have no idea what God did for them during those moments because He was right there with them.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. -Psalm 34:18
The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. -Psalm 145:8-9
2. God is a God of justice.
Scripture declares that God delights in justice and His anger burns against unbalanced scales and dishonest practices. In fact, God is the source of our own sense of justice. The concepts of justice and fairness come from Him alone.
For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. -Isaiah 61:8
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. – Isaiah 30:18
3. A heart transformed by Jesus is the only solution to injustice.
Slavery, racism, and all inequality are but symptoms of the true problem…man’s rebellious heart towards God.
It’s truly a sin issue at the core.
Yes, the Israelites had slaves. And when God gave rules and regulations concerning the treatment of slaves, He seemingly never condemned slavery, but only addressed it. Here are three blog articles I’ve found that dive deeper into this topic:
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve. -Jeremiah 17:9-10
4. God desires that all come to know His Son and be transformed into His image.
No matter our status in this fallen world system, this is the only true and lasting solution to injustice. A heart not submitted to God will always sin and go astray. But when we surrender our hearts to Jesus, willing to lay down our lives for Him, change comes on every level, and in ways we can’t imagine.
I started writing this blog post ready to stamp out every voice calling for a “Woke Church.” i.e. the demand for reparations and special treatment for the black community in the church.
Because I believe the solution to injustice will always be to turn to God and His remedy for the heart of humanity; which is us laying down our lives for one another. This is a plan infinitely better than the church “waking up” to false doctrines.
But while writing this blog post, God still allowed me to deeply feel the pain behind the issue.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges, he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names -Philippians 2:3-9
God gave me room to acknowledge the pain injustice has created, and to grieve.
So when we’re voicing our concerns on any issue as believers, I encourage you to discern the heart behind the issue and respond biblically; with the truth in love and compassion.
Because at the core of every major issue, are real people with real hearts that hurt.
I do understand there are forces at play manipulating the pain. The enemy of our souls has his agents and strategies everywhere and in all positions. But what matters most is not to completely ignore the “other side,” but to look past the anger and confusion…and listen.
I remember when my understanding of the gospel was so complicated, I didn’t even know where to begin when sharing my faith.
I would brush every issue aside…gender confusion, race relations, political issues, and so on…because I just didn’t know where to begin. It’s such a noisy world and there’s a lot of angry voices out there.
I forgot to see the person this issue affects.
You may be tempted to put up a wall and say “It’s just me and Jesus now, the world can go to hell in a handbasket…” Or you may be angry; at the government, at the way the world is going, at all the darkness out there.
I know you’re angry. I get it. But brother or sister, we don’t get brownie points for firmly standing our ground, planting our flag… and that’s it. I want to remind you that hearts and minds are at stake and eternity is on the line for all.
The truth in love is what opens the door to real, raw and honest conversations.
…conversations that can lead to Christ. So I encourage you, instead of walking away or being eager to stamp out every deception without first seeking the Lord… listen and empathize with unbelievers or your Christian brothers with whom you disagree.
They may wind up confessing their hearts to Jesus through you, the very one He lives inside.
And you’ll be agreeing with God’s heart for humanity.
God so dearly loves His creation and He desires ALL of us, slave or free, right or wrong, to come to Christ.
Be blessed and encouraged.
This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. -1 Timothy 2:3-4
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.
Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. -Romans 12:17-21