Similar to many of you, I’ve been thinking about the shootings that have occurred the past week in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas. You can’t look at Facebook or Twitter without coming across someone’s opinions about these shootings, as there seems to be a variety of stances that people have about them. People are outraged at the injustices that have happened, and with that there have been some pretty heated conversations about what we need to do as a country to move forward. So, I wanted to write a blog post looking at how we, as Christians, can approach these things.
First and foremost, we need to remember that all of the victims and perpetrators are humans created in the image of God. Many people have intense beliefs regarding the current climate between police officers and African-Americans. Regardless of where you stand on this spectrum, remember that all of the victims are image bearers, as are the perpetrators.
Along with that, we also need to remind ourselves that those that we disagree with are also image bearers. When we read a post by someone with whom we disagree, we can demonize that person. We think, “How can they think that?” And while we are free to disagree with others, we need to be careful in how we respond to them. I think of how Jesus responded when he was questioned. Jesus weighed his audience and responded to them accordingly. If they were seeking to trap him in a theological pickle, he sometimes responded in a parable or with a pithy statement. Sometimes he responded by rebuking those who were leading others astray. But, if Jesus discerned that someone was seeking out his wisdom on a subject, he responded with the truth spoken in love. We need to remember how Jesus approached difficult topics when we approach them. We need to be bold in our desire to speak the truth, but also careful to do it in a way that doesn’t seek to disparage or anger those with whom we disagree.
Finally, I think that horrible events like these shootings inevitably bring up fears about our own safety and thoughts of how things like this could happen here in the US. So often we put an implicit trust in who we are as Americans that we forget that we are first and foremost citizens of Heaven. When we see these horrible events, we need to remember that our hope isn’t in our bank accounts or our safety or our country. Our ultimate hope is in Christ. As Paul says in Philippians 3:17-21:
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
May we be reminded that our hope is in Christ, and that our security rests in his finished work on the cross, not in the uncertainty of yesterday, today, or tomorrow.