Weep, Love, and Pray: A Christian Response to Dallas, Castille, and Sterling

What can Christians say? What can Christians do?

And let’s take time to love our neighbor today — especially white ones if we are black, or black ones if we are white, and blue ones regardless of our color. This is a time for reaching out across our divides; across the checkout counter, across the fence, across the street. Let’s not just proclaim our love on social media but practice love in our society. Imagine if 300+ million people loved one or two new people today, and tomorrow, and the next day. We can help to heal our land by loving in ways we’ve never done before, by loving people we’ve never loved before, especially by loving those who look and sound most different to us.

 

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

What to say? What to do?

We are in desperate times.

Spiritually desperate.

Politically desperate.

Morally desperate.

Socially desperate.

Economically desperate.

Militarily desperate.

Culturally desperate.

Judicially desperate.

Nationally desperate.

Internationally desperate.

What can Christians say? What can Christians do?

Weep, love, and pray. Weep, love, and pray.

Within hours, the politicians and the pundits will come up with the latest round of agenda-driven divisive solutions. Even if some have merit, where is the trusted leader and statesman to lead the nation in a wise and winning way?

The Christian response is to weep, love, and pray.

To weep with those who weep. With the families of Philando Castille, Alton Sterling, and many other slain black lives. With the families of the dead and injured Dallas policemen, and the 61 other brave men and women in blue who have lost their lives in the line of duty in 2016.

To weep over our torn and shredded nation. Abounding violence and oppression, injustice and inequity, prejudice and favoritism, lawlessness and illegality, are ripping out the heart of our country and creating a new entity — the Divided States of America

To weep over our own personal sins. “What can we do?” is the cry of our hearts. I am utterly convinced on the basis of 2 Chronicles 7:14, that the best thing Christians can do today is set aside time to repent of personal sin. No one will see it, or hear it, or “like” it, or “re-tweet it.” But God promises that he will see it, hear it, forgive our sin, and heal our land.

Although it may seem ridiculous to connect our sins to this week’s bloodshed, God makes that connection. He connects personal sin to national disintegration, and personal repentance to national restoration. There is no power to change a nation greater than nationwide repentance. Penitent words to God are far more influential and transformational than presidential statements.

And let’s take time to love our neighbor today — especially white ones if we are black, or black ones if we are white, and blue ones regardless of our color. This is a time for reaching out across our divides; across the checkout counter, across the fence, across the street. Let’s not just proclaim our love on social media but practice love in our society. Imagine if 300+ million people loved one or two new people today, and tomorrow, and the next day. We can help to heal our land by loving in ways we’ve never done before, by loving people we’ve never loved before, especially by loving those who look and sound most different to us.

Above all, let’s pray that God would prevent more bloodshed — whether of black blood, blue blood, white blood, or gay blood. And let’s pray that many would turn to the atoning blood of Christ, because ultimately only his mighty blood can heal our hearts and thereby heal our land.

David Murray is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. This article first appeared on his blog, Head Heart Hand, and is used with permission.