“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Every day the news reports have been full of turmoil, anger, and anguish. Images of the murders of African American individuals, violence, vandalism, and robbery haunt us. A sense of despair has gripped our nation like another invisible virus.
But one day in Louisville there was a different kind of story on the local news, one that began as sadly as the others, but which offered some hope before it was finished.
A grocery store had been severely damaged and looted the night before. It had been the only source of food and medicine in the area, and now it was out of commission for at least several days. A group of compassionate people had come to help clean up the mess, and as they were sweeping up piles of broken glass, another sound could be heard …
A gathering of Christians stood in a circle in front of the boarded-up building, praying heart-felt and passionate prayers. Hands raised, they sang songs of worship. Moments later they were setting up tables and handing out bags of groceries to the people who needed them. These Christ-followers were not just helping out in tangible ways, they were fighting back against the spiritual forces that had fueled the hatred and destruction the night before. As I watched with tears in my eyes, a verse of Scripture came to me:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
This is what Christians are called to do – feed the hungry, bandage up the wounded, and give comfort to the grieving. We can make a difference, whether it is through social action, petitioning to have laws changed, combatting lies with truth, or offering comfort and hope to people who are feeling despair. It may seem that we are hopelessly outnumbered, but we have God on our side!
His help is always just a prayer away.
So, before we do anything else, we need to enter the Throne Room, pour our hearts out to the King, and let Him show us His plan. Otherwise, we’ll only be spinning our wheels as our own plans wear us out.
To the unbeliever prayer may seem like empty words, a waste of time. But believers know its power, because we know the One who answers those prayers. I could see that power in the joy that radiated from those Christian people both that day and when they came back the next day. As the reporter questioned them, their faces were beaming. All they wanted to talk about was the Lord.
A few days later a video showed a multiracial gathering in my home town of St. Louis, MO. Believers had gathered under the St. Louis Arch to worship and spend time in prayer for the end of racism in the country, and for the love of Jesus to be poured out through them.
Then two days ago I saw a photo of people in Minneapolis being baptized on the street where George Floyd was murdered. Faces both black and white were smiling, and in their smiles I could see hope – Light piercing the darkness.
I am grateful to those who spread these glimmers of hope in a world where it seems “good news is no news.” I’ve tried to share these images as much as possible as an antidote to the hatred and rage that seems to saturate the nightly news and social media.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Good News! But first there is the bad news:
“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
In other words, nobody’s perfect … So what?
“The wages of sin is death … “ (Romans 6:23a) That’s eternal death.
“No Justice, No Peace.” But how will we ever have peace if we get the justice we deserve?
Answer: We look to Jesus Christ, the only perfect Person who ever lived, who was willing to take our judgment on Himself so we could be forgiven and clean. The price had to be paid, and He paid it. “Bail,” “ransom,” whatever you want to call it – that’s the Good News!
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Galatians 2: 8-9)
PLEASE NOTE: although we may not be saved by good works, we are saved for good works. Anyone who calls himself a follower of Christ but doesn’t show it by his actions is only fooling himself.
“Faith without works is dead.” James 2:26
Sadly, in this world there will never be a complete end to racism, or for that matter any other form of sin, not as long as Mankind is terminally sin-sick and the majority refuse to accept the Cure.
Scripture warns us that when the righteous go against the current of evil, we will suffer for it in this world.
But none of that means we shouldn’t be faithful where we are and be a light in the darkness wherever we can, however small that light might seem.
No matter what is going on around you, you can work toward justice, equality, and better relationships between races, wherever, whenever you have opportunity. Just don’t forget the most important strategy of all – PRAYER.
It’s our lifeline – and our power cord.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, as we look around us, we can get so discouraged. Help us to look to You instead. We know that we can’t solve every problem in the world, but show us what we can do right where we are. May we bring hope and healing to those who are within our reach, and in doing so, glorify You, in Jesus’ name. Amen