I want to share my thoughts about the recent events that have affected us all.
The precious loss of a life, that of George Floyd, has ripped at my heart and at the heart of a nation. To see his life snuffed out was somewhat overwhelming and it’s piercing. But it’s not a singular individual situation, it’s life after life after life over years that have been unjustly and unrighteously taken, endemic of a problem that really needs deep fixing.
We’re in a medical pandemic right now. Simultaneously we’re in a cultural pandemic because we’ve seen the devolution of our society and we’re in a cultural pandemic because we’re in a spiritual pandemic. We’ve wandered away from a value system that was established by God for human beings to live and act and relate to one another.
Across racial and class lines we have come up with our own standards and it has not done us good. It is absolutely needed right now that there needs to be a reset. And this is the time to do it when it has everyone’s attention at the very same time.
The Bible is clear, in Psalm 89:14, it says, “From God’s throne come righteousness and justice.” And this is not a seesaw where sometimes you go for righteousness and sometimes you go for justice; these are twin towers. They’re always to be balanced side by side.
Righteousness is the moral standard of right and wrong to which God holds men accountable based on His divine standards. Justice is the equitable and impartial application of God’s moral law in society. And God wants both.
Yes, He wants to protect the life of the unborn in the womb but he wants to see justice of the life once born to the tomb. In other words, God wants a whole life agenda not a term agenda. But unfortunately all lives aren’t valued the same way and they ought to be because every person is created in the image of Almighty God. It is now time, on a personal level and a systemic level, that we reverse the course of history that has brought us to this point, and that we reverse it on all levels.
God has four levels in which life is to be lived and therefore there are four levels in which changes need to be made. I call it, we call it, the Kingdom agenda, the visible manifestation of the comprehensive view of God over every area of life.
It starts with an individual, it starts with you. Don’t try to change the nation, if God can’t even change your heart. In other words, we have to develop a heart that cares for our fellow man because they’re created in the image of God, not because they look like us or have what we have but because they have the stamp of divine creation on them. That means you have the responsibility to reach out to somebody different than you. Let them understand where you came from, where you come from, the things that have influenced your perspective, hear from them and give them an audience and then both of you find out what God has to say about the matter so that He can keep everybody straight.
And then there’s your family. We must be transferring values to our children. Don’t expect them to think differently and act differently if they aren’t hearing differently from their parents, if they’re not getting a righteous value system.
Judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin means you connect with other families. They may be different than you and you not only get to know them but guess what you do? As families together you go serve another family that’s worse off than you. Because guess where reconciliation happens? It doesn’t happen in seminars, that’s information. Reconciliation happens in service. So as an individual and as a family, with another family serve somebody worse off than you and now you are part of the solution, doing good works that God calls us all to do.
The biggest problem in the culture is the church because the church has failed. We wouldn’t even have a racial crisis in America if the church had not failed to deal with this sin like God calls it in his Word. But because they’ve passed it off, ignored it and even promoted it we still have this division in our culture so don’t expect God to fix the White House if he can’t even change the church house.
Churches don’t just get together for joint worship services, that’s great, it has it’s benefits. But it also addresses the issue of inequity whether it’s racial inequity or economic inequity or health care inequity or opportunity in inequity it recognizes the systems that are at work that work against the fair treatment of people creating the opportunity for them to take advantage of all that God has blessed us with in this nation but they do it in such a way where people are held accountable to be responsible for their decision making.
And then it speaks to the culture at large. It speaks not first of all from a political platform, it speaks first of all from a Biblical-centric platform that God doesn’t ride the backs of donkeys or elephants, the church must speak with one voice because we have one God, one Lord Jesus Christ and one inerrant Word to speak from.
And yes, we should protest evil in a righteous way. We should let our voices be heard but then we must act because if we don’t act, then all we did was have a speech. We must implement righteous principals, modeling it through the church so we can see what it looks like in the broader society.
Then finally, we must challenge our civil leaders on all levels of government to be agents of healing and not division to speak in such a way where unity is reinforced and not divisiveness, that the words that come out of their mouths and the way they say the words that come out of their mouths must be words of strength and kindness, not vitriol and meanness.
And when those four areas, the individual, the family, the church and the community begin to operate that way based on God’s standards, then He can feel comfortable to get back in the midst of us and make us repairers of the breach and healers of the land.
And so this starts off with prayer. I’m not just saying God help us, no, I’m talking about where we repent of where we failed to do what He says do, the way He says do it, where we realign ourselves under His authority while pursuing a relationship with Him where His Word can overrule our ideas, perspectives and agendas and then He will listen to your prayers because you’re praying like He wants you to pray, not like you want to pray. When that kind of prayer goes up, with that kind of action supporting it, ahh, now, now we’re ready to see what He will do in healing our land.
Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and author of over 100 books, booklets and Bible studies. The first African American to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University. To hear the rest of the message, search Tony Evans videos on YouTube.