Written by Josh Landis
Kansas City Fellow – Class of 2016-2017
This great nation is bleeding, so too are you and I. The blood runs dark and red. It gushes freely onto the ground below. The Band-Aids can no longer mask the hurt as it splatters…drop after drop it flows. The wound is deep. The pain is real. The injustice of power is clearly present, yet the power of justice is not completely bent. Fear abounds. Distrust remains. The past will never be forgotten amid the bloodstains. Yet, hasn’t there been positive change? We see the stories on our TV screen. We hear the gunshot’s sickening ring. We see the flashing lights as they race into the night. So, what are we to think? Into confusion, we sink…
It would be blatantly ignorant to say that all is right, yet it would be incredibly misguided to say that good will go without a desperate fight. Thus, we search deeper….There, far within the gaping wounds of you and I grows something from which we wish to hide our eyes—it is grotesque and it reeks of an awful stench. It is an infection—the result of our dirtied wounds. We’ve let them rot and now we can no longer disguise them from our neighbor’s eyes. This infection is not unique because it’s in each of us. It ravishes the body disregarding its victim—external appearance, age, and beliefs play no role as it steadily destroys the soul. The popularized steps for recovery are glorified and touted, while the individuals in the actual conflict—both black and white—remain marginalized. Their stories are dismissed and their pain is forgotten amidst the “issue” that stems from our different skin tissue. Both the stories of slain citizens and innocent officers are overlooked. We gawk at the product of this tension, while the underlying problem gets hardly any media mention. The fires of debate rage, yet it’s more comfortable to just disengage. Let’s face the facts—Not all police officers are crooked. Not all black men are crooks. We have taken a stereotype and written a book. A book that says that our differences are too great….that says we can’t understand each other through all of the hate.
But wait? Last time I checked, we all can relate. The primary cause of our current state starts with something we all share in common. Ironic isn’t it? Our skin-based strife emerges from our similarity. Crazy? Maybe, but it’s true. This problem affects each person regardless of skin color, social standing, or gender. It’s a cancer that engulfs the suburbs and penetrates the projects. It’s persistent and it’s powerful. It’s often subtle, yet it deeply scars. It manifests itself in many different forms. It’s not a white problem or a black problem. It’s a human problem. The problem I find lies within me. It lies within everyone. It is sin. That’s right, sin. This is the truth, and it’s not mine but Christ’s who uses the apostle Paul to expose it in the light—“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[b] Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
Listen to me. Hear me out….Until you and I address our sin, fall on our face in repentance, and allow the Lord to let us see our neighbor as ourselves—nothing will change. I’m telling you. I’m begging you. Stop trying to do it alone! Admit that you are broken. Absolutely incapable without Christ. Let us fall on our knees and repent. Nothing can change in our great nation until Someone changes us as individuals. And what He offers us today is the ability to embrace the pain of our brokenness as He walks alongside us. In turn, we walk besides our brothers and sisters regardless of race. He lays it out clearly, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) Christ came to restore relationship with us and He alone has the power to restore relationship with our fellow man. He has given us the opportunity to join Him in this redemptive act. We restore one relationship at a time. The brokennesses inside of me rears its ugly head in how I react to and contribute to the brokenness of my neighborhood and our nation. However, that’s not how it has to be. You and I can make a difference. Silence is the enemy of our success. Let us be fervent in prayer for our nation and our neighborhoods. NO more excuses for you or for me. The healing starts NOW. Allow the Lord to break your heart over your sin and let Him heal you. Take that first step to meet your neighbor—then love them. In the midst of this struggle there is hope. Not hope in the sense of “maybe one day,” The “hope” we seek and believe is, as Kris Fernhout said, “the confident assurance that God will make things happen.”
The wound is still deep and it continues to bleed. Yet, we are called to heal NOW. It is at His cross we kneel. Lord, heal our land by healing us of our sin. We need You. It is in You we trust. Remember my friends, at all costs cling to hope. He will restore, I know He can. I know He will.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
(Micah 6:8 ESV)