Waiting Since the Year 1619
Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. Psalm 130:2 NKJV
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34 NKJV
America is on fire, literally. Distraught and distressed people in Minneapolis, and others in the North, the South, East and West cities in America are protesting, rioting and looting, and burning and destroying businesses, crying out: “No justice no peace” in their frustrated—can’t take it no more—response to the nation’s systemic racism, which reared its ugly head again; most recently, in the police killing of an unarmed black man in Minnesota. While the nation burns, where is the church of God? Where are the voices of the “so-called Christians”, especially the white brothers and sisters? Jesus said that the church would be the salt of the earth, and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13, 14). It appears often that “the salt” has lost its savor” and “the light” doesn’t shine, especially in trying times as these.
It all began in the year 1619 when descendents of Africa was first brought to America against their will, and forced into the bondage of slavery, America’s original sin, and still the nation’s un-repented sin. This original sin of our country still stains deeply the soul of our nation until today. America must repent if it ever, truly, wants racial healing and international exceptionalism (2 Chron. 7:14). After 401 years here in America, including after the Emancipation Proclamation, the Reconstruction period; post-slavery amendments to the U.S. Constitution; and, after a vigorous, on-going and unrelenting civil rights movement, black Americans have at best achieved some integration in society, but not equality and equal justice under the law. It’s time for the true church of God to take a Biblical look at unsettling truths. Isn’t this what God requires “but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God”? (Mic. 6:8).
Let us never condone violence, looting, and the destruction of property, under no circumstances. But peaceful protest is a worthy and lawfully protected American value. Instead of injudiciously blaming the looters and the violent, take a prayerful moment and try to understand that the oppressed blacks of America are sick and tired of being sick and tired. How long must they wait for equality, police reform and a fair criminal justice system? How long? It’s high time for change to come. They have been waiting since the year 1619. The church of God is the one institution that can be the most effective catalyst for effecting positive racial change and justice in America (Matt. 16:18).
The riots across America are responses to the violence that people are forced to live with every day, i.e., violence that flows from oppression, poverty, injustice, and alienation. Dr. Martin Luther King once said: “A riot is the language of the unheard.” The church can’t afford to turn a deaf hear and turn a blind eye to the centuries-decades long problems that have been “swept under the rug.” It’s time for the church to pay attention and hear (Prov. 31:9), stand up and speak up!