RACE, JUSTICE, AND VIOLENCE
 
 
 
 
UNITY STATEMENT
“I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”
1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT
 
Family Community Church (FCC) categorically denounces any and all violence against a person(s) or property enacted or executed by an individual(s) or governmental official(s). We believe all Americans have the right to express their first amendment rights peacefully without fear or intimidation. We remain firmly committed to our Faith & Message and Official Statement document, as posted on FCC’S media platforms. We encourage our members to refresh their understanding of these statements, specifically, articles on “Man, The Christian and the Social Order, Racism, Religious Liberty, and Unity,” and then represent these Biblical principles to others.
 
Faith & Message/Official Statements
June 27, 2020
 
 
May 29, 2020

RACE, JUSTICE  & VIOLENCE

There is no doubt that this country is continuing to grieve and struggle with race, justice, and violence issues.

It’s during stressful times like this that it’s easy for even Christians to allow their fears and frustration to show. However, when we do, we forget that these various issues are not just secular matters in need of a practical solution. Still, all of these issues have a spiritual connotation to them. It is for that reason that it would benefit all of us to review the words of the Apostle Paul in Roman 12:19-21:

“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing, you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” NKJV

Now, this by no means is suggesting that Christians should not speak out and protest peacefully against any form of unrighteousness or injustice.  On the contrary, the Bible charges each of us to “let our light (of righteousness) shine.” That means understanding and sharing biblical solutions to these issues. I believe the Biblical answer to these three prevailing issues can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:11-13

 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, argued like a child; now that I have become a man, I have finished with childish ways.  For now, we see obscurely in a mirror, but then it will be face to face. Now I know partly; then I will know fully, just as God has fully known me.  But for now, three things last — faith, hope, love, and the greatest of these is love. NKJV

 

RACE

According to Esther 3:5-6, Mark 6:1-13 and Luke 10:25-37, we find that:

Prejudice is marked by selfish pride. Haman enjoyed the power and prestige of his position, and he was enraged when Mordecai did not respond with the expected reverential bow. Haman’s anger was not directed just toward Mordecai, but toward what Mordecai stood for — the Jews’ dedication to God as the only authority worthy of reverence. Haman’s attitude was extreme: he hated a group of people because of a difference in belief or culture.

Prejudice grows out of personal pride — considering one-self better than others. In the end, Haman was punished for his arrogant attitude (7:9-10). God will harshly judge those who are prejudiced or whose pride causes them to look down on others.

Prejudice is marked by blindness to the truth. Jesus was teaching effectively and wisely, but the people of his hometown saw him as only a common laborer. “He’s no better than we are — he’s just a carpenter,” they said. They were offended that others could be impressed by Jesus and follow him. They rejected his authority because he was one of their peers. They thought they knew him, but their preconceived notions about who he was made it impossible for them to accept his message. Don’t let prejudice blind you to the truth. As you learn more about Jesus, try to see him as he is.

Prejudice is marked by a lack of real love. There was deep hatred between Jews and Samaritans. The Jews saw themselves as pure descendants of Abraham, while the Samaritans were a mixed race produced when Jews from the northern kingdom intermarried with other peoples after Israel’s exile. To this Law Expert, the person least likely to act correctly would be the Samaritan. In fact, he could not bear to say “Samaritan” in answer to Jesus’ question. This “expert’s” attitude betrayed his lack of the very thing that he had earlier said the law commanded — love.

JUSTICE

 According to Isaiah 3:14-

God guarantees justice. In the middle of this gloomy message, God gives hope — eventually, the righteous will receive God’s reward, and the wicked will receive their punishment. It is disheartening to see the wicked prosper while we struggle to obey God and follow his plan. Yet we keep holding on to God’s truth and take heart! God will bring about justice in the end, and he will reward those who have been faithful.

God despises injustice. The elders and leaders were responsible for helping people, but instead, they stole from the poor. Because they were unjust, Isaiah said the leaders would be the first to receive God’s judgment. Leaders will be held accountable for how they lead. If you are in a position of leadership, you must lead according to God’s just commands. Corruption will bring God’s wrath, especially if others follow your example.

God is just. Why is justice so important in the Bible? (1) Justice is part of God’s nature; it is the way he runs the universe. (2) It is a natural desire in every person. Even as sinners, we all want justice for ourselves. (3) When government and church leaders are unjust, the poor and powerless suffer. Thus, they are hindered from worshiping God. (4) God holds the poor in high regard. They are the ones most likely to turn to him for help and comfort. Injustice, then, attacks God’s children. When we do nothing to help the oppressed, we are, in fact, joining with the oppressor. Because we follow a just God, we must uphold justice.

                                                

VIOLENCE

We as a nation are all individually and collectively struggling to understand and process the past and recent events of violence during separates, but not necessarily mutually exclusive events. These events and their “legal” outcomes are so culturally demeaning and hurtful. All America should be horrified and insist on justice for all.

The following are Excerpts of Acts of Violence in notable cases in America and published by the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, CNN and CBS

“2009 – Oscar Grant- 22 yrs.old. He was shot and killed at a transit station in Oakland. Officer said he meant to use a taser, not his gun. The officer was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter but cleared of murder

2012 – Rekia Boyd-  Chicago – Shot and killed by Police while standing in an alley talking with friends. A man in the group exchanged words with the Detective, who ten fired off five shots hitting Rekia in the back of the head no weapon found,  no charges were filed against the Detective.

2013 – Jonathan Ferrell- a 24-year-old former football player at Florida A&M who, was shot dead after knocking on a door for help when he crashed his car in North Carolina. The officer was charged with  Manslaughter by negligence ended in a hung jury

2014Michael Brown, Jr.- 18, was gunned down by an officer in Missouri after stealing cigarillos from a convenience store Officer not convicted …

 2014 Tamir Rice- 12 yr.old, Shot and killed while playing in a park in Cleveland, Ohio….The boy had a play gun. Grand Jury declined to indict the officers

2014 – Eric Garner- “I can’t breath” 11 Times confronted for illegally selling cigarettes, placed in a chokehold by an officer and died. Officers acquitted

2015 Sandra Bland- pulled over and arrested for a routine traffic stop…died in a jail cell under dubious circumstances…Officer was charged with perjury lying about the events leading to the arrest. Charges were later dropped

2015 Freddie Gray- died in the back of a police transport van with his handcuff on and leg restraints. But no seat belt. Officer’s trial ended in a hung jury…but the family was awarded 6.4 million

2016 – Philando Castile- 32 yr old -St. Paul Minnesota   Killed in a car with a girlfriend and a child. When reaching for his Id after being asked by the officer…The officer fired into the vehicle.  Officer arrested but found not guilty

2016 Alton Sterling– 37 yrs. Old shot and killed during a confrontation in Baton Rouge Louisiana outside a convenience store where he was selling videos and music

2020 George Floyd– Arrested for alleged forgery. Police officer put his knee unto his neck, thereby causing his death. Police officer arrested and charged with 3rd degree murder and manslaughter

2020Ahmad Arberry– 25 yr old jogger…killed by a dad and his son in Kentucky, Both arrested

2020Breonna Taylor- Killed in her apartment by plainclothes police officers who did not knock but entered her and her boyfriend’s home. Shooting and killing her.  Investigation still underway by the FBI…The police chief is retiring in July.

2020Christian Cooper– Bird watching in Central Park….lady called 911 to say she was being threatened by a black man….”

As a nation and as Christian individuals, we know that the primary solution to these significant issues of race, justice, and violence is LOVE!

Luke 15:1-7
 

God’s love is forgiving. We may be able to understand a God who would forgive sinners who come to him for mercy. But a God who tenderly searches for sinners and then joyfully forgives them must possess an extraordinary love! This is the kind of love that prompted Jesus to come to earth to search for lost people and save them. This is the kind of extraordinary love that God has for you. If you feel far from God, don’t despair. He is searching for you.

Romans 8:28-39

God’s love is beyond measure. These words were written to a church that would soon undergo terrible persecution. In just a few years, Paul’s hypothetical situations would turn into painful realities. This passage reaffirms God’s profound love for his people. No matter what happens to us, no matter where we are, we can never be lost to his love. Suffering should not drive us away from God; it should help us to identify with him further and allow his love to reach us and heal us.

God’s love is eternal. These verses contain one of the most comforting promises in all Scripture. Believers have always had to face hardships in many forms: persecution, illness, imprisonment, even death. These could cause them to fear that they have been abandoned by Christ. But Paul exclaims that it is impossible to be separated from Christ. His death for us is proof of his unconquerable love. Nothing can stop Christ’s constant presence with us. God tells us how great his love is so that we will feel secure in him. If we believe these overwhelming assurances, we will not be afraid.
 

Family Community Church

Reverend Chester L. McGensy, D.D.

Senior Pastor

…if My people who are called by My name will 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

Updated from 2016
 
 
July 9, 2016