Like most people, I was appalled when I saw video of George Floyd with his face down on the pavement, a police officer’s knee in his neck. I couldn’t believe the officers would have his hands cuffed behind his back, his chest constricted so that every breath was a struggle, and the knee in his neck restricting blood flow to his brain. I was simultaneously outraged and filled with sorrow as I heard him politely pleading for his life. “I can’t breathe. Please, officer.”
And I saw the officer with his hand in his pocket, almost nonchalantly killing the man beneath his knee. I heard the spectators begging the officers to let George up, and after he passed out, asking them to get off of him and take his pulse. I know that the law must see the officers as “innocent” until they are proven guilty in a court of law. But if I were the prosecutor, I would throw the book at them.
The spark of outrage from the video began a fire of racial turmoil that swept – not just the United States – but the whole world. In the last week, massive protests have been held in the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and elsewhere.
How should followers of Jesus respond to a world that for months has been locked down by a disease, and is now being ripped apart in a torrent of violence and accusation? We need to engage the culture, but we need to do it God’s way. Proposing another political program will not be enough. Yelling “racist” on social media won’t fix anything. Throwing money at problems will not solve them. Education alone is not the answer.
God’s way means engaging the culture one person at a time – one soul at a time with love and care, not sarcasm or outrage. We need to present the Gospel of Jesus with clarity and passion. These are difficult and dangerous times, but in them, God is giving us an opportunity to reach people as perhaps never before.
Jesus is the Answer. Times of anger and strife don’t change that. In fact, darkness makes light more obvious. In the late 1960s and early 70s, America experienced similar upheavals. Then something amazing happened. Voices were lowered and common sense rose to the fore. Those things allowed progress toward justice and a fairer society while at the same time strengthening the nation’s unity and resolve.
It happened because God sent revival to His churches and a spiritual awakening in society. The message of Billy Graham and other evangelists of the day suddenly seemed to resonate. Campus Crusade for Christ took the word to our universities. The Jesus Movement swept through the nation’s young. God even used people like me, explaining the miraculous accuracy of Bible prophecy.
Once again, we desperately need revival in the Church and an awakening across the land. And we don’t just need it for America, but for the whole world. The problems go far deeper than politics. We need changed hearts. You and I can’t give people new hearts, but we know Someone who can.
Soon, Jesus will take His ambassadors out of this world. But while we’re still here, we have a job to do.
After He had been resurrected and just before He ascended into heaven, Jesus gave us our marching orders until He comes. In Matthew 28:1920, Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”