Change of Address
“David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.’ Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man!”- 2 Samuel 12:5-7a
This account of the prophet Nathan calling out King David for his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah, is the ultimate plot twist, “gotcha,” caught you red-handed moments in all the Bible. The prophet comes to the king with a tale of injustice, where a person with wealth and power takes advantage of another in a less fortunate position. David’s mandate is not only to govern the kingdom, but he is a godly man who knows the difference between righteousness and wickedness. This analogy of a stolen lamb would only further infuriate David, who had spent the early years of his life as a shepherd.
As the days continue to unfold since the horrific and unjust murder of George Floyd on May 25th and the subsequent protests by millions across our nation and world, it is necessary for you and me, for the Church of Jesus, to continue to address the abomination of racism, hate, and social injustice from a position of love, compassion, truth, and even righteous indignation. As I shared in a recent video, for many this is an uncomfortable conversation and some may feel inadequate to address the long history of racism, the deep pain our black brothers and sisters have experienced, and the broken systems (i.e.- education, incarceration, and police/justice system). If you feel inadequate in articulating your heart, in being able to associate with such hate, or knowing what actions will bring about real change, you are not alone. However, what I see throughout the Bible is God calling inadequate people to RISE UP to serve Him, to proclaim His message, to battle the enemy, and to deliver people (remember Moses, Gideon, and Esther to name a few).
I believe there are two steps that can be our starting point in this long overdue fight:
1) ASSESS THE HEART- It is time for each of us to humbly examine our hearts for the cleansing work of the Spirit to remove places of pride, selfishness, hate, bitterness, and conflict with others. As we pray, may the Lord reveal the places in us where we have treated others discriminately or unjustly. We all have excuses and ways to justify or dismiss our prejudice, but if we choose to argue our position, we will miss the point entirely. Jesus had to deal with this type of positional superiority in the parable of the Vineyard Workers (Matthew 20:1-16). And in Romans 12:16 Paul says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
2) ADDRESS THE HURT- Before you dismiss yourself from examining this point, please know this is speaking to much more than whether you feel compelled to participate in a peaceful protest. Addressing the hurt can come in many forms: sitting down to LISTEN to someone who has been the victim of racism/discrimination; becoming more informed on the plight of minorities through available resources that accurately address the issues; teaching your kids about the wrongs of prejudice and what the Bible says about the inherent value of all people; getting involved in a cause to bring about change, opportunity, and relief to the suffering. Isaiah 1:17 tells us, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
For many of us, including myself, this is the first chapter in our joining the story and the fight against this evil. Let us get started, let us continue to stand with our black brothers and sisters, and let us see what the Lord does in our hearts and through our lives together, as the Lord works in His Church to bring about true, lasting, and victorious change!