“Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.” – 2 Thessalonians 1:4
We live in a climate that is increasingly hostile toward Christianity. And, a culture in turmoil over racial tension. While we do need to recognize and address these issues, we also need to keep driving to the heart of the matter and responding with God’s love.
Second Thessalonians offers some perspective and some hope . . .
“For after all it is only just for God to . . . give relief to you who are afflicted.”
The passage goes on to have some harsh words for those that afflict followers of Christ. Sometimes we are targeted simply because of our faith, and other times, like this past week, people see only our earthly shell.
Because man looks on the outward appearance. God looks on the heart. Man sees race. God sees people, souls.
While many of us were at prayer meetings, small groups, youth group, or various church activities, things changed. Nine lives lost. A disturbing motive.
I walk into church many Wednesday evenings. My last thought is that I would come face to face with a killer there. I expect a refuge, hope, love. That’s the environment we should create for all who enter. Looking at the heart, the need. Heart breaking that we need to consider the possibility, raise walls of protection yet again, because a person (as many others do, but maybe without the violent calculations) looked at skin color.
What’s my response? Speak proudly of their faith. Stand up and against racial violence. It might be the start of some uncomfortable conversations and awkward encounters, but our faith propels us to speak out and live out God’s love.
Lord God, please move in our land. Renew people’s thinking, bring new life where sin currently controls. Here am I, send me. ~Amen