El Paso shooting: We must combat hate speech and racism in church and society – Part 2
In the light of our present unfortunate circumstances, I urge you to take the following actions:First, honestly examine your own heart to see if there are vestiges of racism and prejudice that you justify or rationalise by calling it “cultural differences.” If you find such, I ask you to admit it sincerely to yourself and to God. Repent of it because it is sinful.
Second, when you hear and see friends, family, members of your church or community acting in racist ways and trying to justify it, using political or cultural language, please correct them. To say nothing is to unintentionally contribute to possible problems in the future.
Third, stop blaming the Republican or Democratic Party for racism in the United States. Nobody, no political party, and no video games are responsible for anyone’s racist behaviour. A racist is responsible for his or her racism, and God will hold him or her accountable on the Day of Judgment.
Fourth, Christians, as well as political and religious leaders must learn to say and do things that promote love, kindness, compassion, repentance, reconciliation and godliness in both church and country, especially in times like this. We should learn to be salt and light, rather than incendiary elements who insinuate and ignite bigoted and prejudiced actions against people who are different from us.
Fifth, take time to read these two articles for your own edification and ministry to others. “White Nationalist Terrorism and the Gospel” · https://www.russellmoore.com/2019/08/06/white-nationalist-terrorism-and-the-gospel/and “Preaching Against Racism Is Not a Distraction from the Gospel” By Dr. Esau Mccaulley https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2019/august-web-exclusives/racism-preaching-against-not-distraction-from-gospel.html
Finally, every race seems to have their own form of ungodly nationalism of which we must all repent and turn away from as Christians. We must lead the way by loving and seeking the wellbeing of people who are like us, as well as of those who are different from us. As the Bible says, “We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1John 4:19-21).
The Lord has made us as He has chosen – black, white, yellow and so on and so forth. As the Bible says, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.“ (Acts 17:26). We are one blood by creation and redemption. We need to honour God’s wisdom and purpose in creating racial and ethnic diversity with “one blood” for the purpose of harmony and pleasure. To that end, the Lord calls and enables us through the gospel to love others with agape love. Agape love transcends tribe, culture and race. It forgives, cares about others’ wellbeing, and welcomes into fellowship those on the outside. A life of genuine Love for others is the primary evidence that we are born again and true disciples of Christ.
May the Lord fill our hearts with patience and genuine love for one another for His glory through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Felix Orji, OSB. Is the Diocesan Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the West and the Missionary Bishop of CANA – Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)’s Mission in the USA and Canada.
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