– Protesters brawl at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 6, 2017. Photo by Daniel Stindt
Steve DuPlessie | August 19, 2017
In light of the angry, hate-filled, and sometimes violent protests for months in Portland, Oregon, then in Charlottesville last week, and Boston yesterday, how should followers of Jesus respond?
First, the elders are encouraged that GNBC has always been, and continues to grow as a warm and welcoming church family for sisters and brothers, made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), from many different national and ethnic backgrounds, languages, and skin colors. That’s the way it should be. There is no room here for hate and racism.
We frequently mention that what happens here at Good News is a taste of what Revelation 5 and 7 tell us heaven will be like, where women and men “from every tribe and language and people and nation” are worshipping God, side by side (Revelation 5:9; 7:9). What unites us is “One Lord, one faith” (Ephesians 4:5), our shared adoption by God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ into the family of God.
Particularly disturbing right now is the spread of angry rhetoric, hateful and inflammatory words. But as Christ-followers, we see this as an opportunity to be the Salt and Light that Jesus said His followers should be in the world (Matthew 5:13, 14). When you and I hear angry, unkind, unloving conversations, that’s our opportunity to speak up: “Jesus said that we should love our neighbors (Mark 5:31), and even love and pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44), and do good to those who hate us” (Luke 6:35).
The broken, selfish and fallen world around us is never going to love followers of Jesus: it hated Him, and He said it will hate us, too (John 15:18). But we can respond to anger and hate with Christ-like love and kindness, and work together for justice and peace since Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:8).
Brothers and sisters, we need to act and pray. 1st Timothy 2 teaches us to pray for the leaders of our nation, our states, and our communities…
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers,
intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—
for kings and all those in authority,
that we may live peaceful and quiet lives
in all godliness and holiness.
This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
who wants all people to be saved
and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 TIMOTHY 2:1-4