Everyone is angry nowadays. Cops vs. Public, Black vs. White, Left. Vs. Right, generation vs. generation, and everything else in between. We see everywhere the seeds of division and strife. Through it all, I know many are asking "As a Christian, how do I respond?" I would like to join the chorus of preachers of all backgrounds in saying "We need to reach out to each other, instead of squaring up against one another." I think that anger is a justifiable and biblical response. Jesus got angry, Peter, Paul, and the rest got angry, but there's a time and a place for it. On anger, the word tells us: "Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil." (Psalm 37:8) Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27) Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear,slow to speak,slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20) So why do we, if we're believers, let it get the better of us? Consider for a minute that last verse: quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. It means we should be listening more than we should be talking. In a time when battle lines are being drawn, then shouldn't it be the Church's response to cross those lines, and talk to one's opponent and say "Why are you so angry? I don't understand, but I want to." And then LISTEN. Listen without the intent to respond. Listen to understand, and not rebut, listen to those who are different to understand their experience. And, perhaps (whether they do or not is not on them, but on you), they will listen to you to understand you. So I implore you, reach out to someone who's different than you, ethnically, generationally, if you know police officers, whatever differences you can think of and ask "How do you feel about all of this? What's your experience so I can understand you better?" and listen without intent to respond with anything but "I love you, I hear you, and I want to understand you." Everywhere I look in the Bible, it cries out for Unity. Unity can only be achieved in Jesus Christ, and so what should we do? We should do as Jesus did. He came down, put on flesh, and dwelt as one of us, serving and enslaving Himself to us for the sake of our eternity. Then we, who are called by His name, should humble ourselves, pray, and do the same. Let us be servants and slaves to one another, seeking the eternity of our friends and opponents alike, striving for unity in Christ Jesus, in who's name we believe for the salvation of our souls. Let us seek to be like Him, bringing in the Kingdom, not for a time to come, but now. As we sing in Sunday School: red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight. Let us strive, then, not against one another, but to be together NOW so that when we get into His presence in eternity, arm in arm, we march singing songs of Victory that the Kingdom brought on Earth as He brings the Kingdom to Eternity. Romans 12:9-21 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.