“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” James 2:1
George Perry Floyd, under the influence of fentanyl and methamphetamine, purchased cigarettes at Cup Foods in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25, 2020 with counterfeit currency. Tragically, Floyd died at the hands of the police who responded. George Floyd was black. A white police officer, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and now charged with second degree murder in Floyd’s death. Three additional officers have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. The week has been filled with protests, rioting, vandalism, looting, and destruction of property across America. In addition, at least twelve people have been killed, and hundreds have been injured in the riots. Protests are also happening across Europe, and even in Australia.
And what exactly is it that is being protested? Systemic racism, discrimination, partiality, bigotry and injustice. And where does the problem lie? Always outside of ourselves! In government, in law enforcement, in the world of business, and in society – but certainly not in me! However, government, law enforcement, the world of business, and society are made up of individuals – individuals such as you and I! An article in The Times (written many years ago), entitled, “What’s Wrong With This World?” elicited this sobering response from G. K. Chesterton – “Dear Sirs, I am. Yours truly, G. K. Chesterton.” The apostle James does not ask his readers to eliminate partiality or injustice in the world. Rather, he calls on each of them individually to eliminate partiality in their own hearts and lives by holding “the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ”.
Too often the perceived sin of “systemic racism” justifies more sin! Sin always justifies sin! And protests can not solve the problem of sin! Only the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ can totally transform a heart and life, so that all partiality is eradicated! The radical, life-changing power of the gospel enabled the survivors of the massacre at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina to extend forgiveness to Dylann Roof, the perpetrator who had sought to start a race war, by murdering nine members of the church, including Pastor Clementa Pinckney. A black senator, Tim Scott, gave this message on the floor of the Senate on behalf of the grieving families: “God is in control, and even out of something like this, something positive will come!” We sing, “Even what the enemy means for evil – You turn it for our good and for Your glory!” May God help us to believe that, even in the brokenness of our times.”