The senseless killings in Charleston, S.C., by a 21-year-old man have once again put the American people in a state of mind that can best be described as painful, sorrowful, angry and even confused. Nine innocent lives were lost and they died at a place of worship while actually worshiping their God. I have been greatly moved by the outpouring of love and support by people across the country for the families of the victims. That speaks well for the American people.
Unfortunately mass murders have become almost to be expected in our country and that is a sad commentary on our times. The murderer in this instance was filled with hate. His hate was aimed at American citizens and specifically at all black folks in our country. Without any doubt, his hate was for all black Americans.
The obvious question is why? I wish there was an easy answer. We must all support the families with our prayers and with whatever else is needed to get them through this tragic time in their lives. But we must move forward and do more than just support the families. We must fix our most serious racial problems in America.
Hopefully, this tragic incident will be a real wakeup call for all of America. The families of the victims have shown Christian love even though their losses are as bad as one could imagine and that speaks volumes for their character and their devotion to God. No person can understand their feelings and emotions unless they have experienced similar losses and very few of us have. We must not let the deaths of these innocent persons and their respective families just remain in the headlines for a few weeks and then be largely forgotten with the passage of time. That has been the history of most mass murders in the past. Hopefully, this time things will be quite different.
This tragic event was pure racism at its very worst. There have been other incidents over the years that shocked and saddened the overwhelming majority of the American people. As a result of some of those incidents, constructive changes in how we think and act and live came about. In others, however, time passed and little, if anything, really changed. We as a people can’t let that happen this time. We must change our culture when it comes to race relations in America.
The government certainly has a role in bringing about the needed change, but the real change must come from the American people who must demand real changes and then see that it comes about. I sincerely believe the churches must be the place where the movement for change starts and continues until we really fix our problems. Anybody who has watched the news over the past few days has to feel a real spirit of brotherhood and love for each other, something that is so badly needed today in our country. We must make sure that this spirit continues and grows. None of us can afford to sit out this battle. Each of us must be actively involved.
My prayers today are for the families of the victims, for the City of Charleston and for the United States of America and all of our people. We must cast out the spirit of hate and division in the name of Jesus and replace that spirit with the spirit of love and respect for one another. Until we face reality and realize that our nation can’t continue on its current course, our racial problems won’t be solved. God expects us to deal with this problem in love and our obligation is to listen to God and obey His commands. The verses set out below will help us to not only understand our mission, but will help us heal the wounds that have been inflicted on our nation.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Hebrews 13:1
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12
And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:21
I hope all of you and your families enjoy the July 4th holiday. It’s a great time to assess where we are as a nation and to pray for a healing of our land. May God bless and protect each of us as we celebrate our nation’s independence.
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