The first time a human being took the life of another human being was when Cain, one of Adam and Eve’s sons, killed his brother Abel.
“Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him… And the LORD said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.’”Genesis 4:8; 10
The Hebrew word for “crying” means to make a vehement protest. This is the very first protest in all of history.
It is good and right to protest the mistreatment of people made in the image of God. In fact, it is loving to do so in the face of evil.
Racism is evil.
The unjust taking of human life is evil. The killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and George Floyd in Minnesota were evil, whether they were racist acts or not, and they certainly appear to have been.
The looting and rioting that has occurred in response to the killings are evil. Contempt for any person and the unjust destruction of their property is evil.
When someone disrespects or harms a person because of the color of their skin or the color of their uniform or because they just happen to be there when they are angry, it is evil.
Racism, murder, looting, and contempt are not just wrong; they are EVIL. They are evil because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created all human lives in their very own image (Genesis 1:26-27), and they call these things evil (Matthew 5:21-22).
In fact, the Trinity experiences these acts as if they were done directly to Them.
“The King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”Matthew 25:40
Therefore, it is good, loving, and right that people all over the world are protesting what happens far too often to black people at the hands of white people. We should wholeheartedly and without reservation join the protest. We should cry out to the LORD like Abel’s blood.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly…”Proverbs 31:8-9
Protest is loving, good, and right.
Vengeance, however, is another story.
As individuals, vengeance is never loving, good, and right. Vengeance is the prerogative of God, and of governments under God.
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”Romans 12:19
“…The one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”Romans 13:4
We don’t need to worry that people, whether in authority or not, will ultimately get away with injustice or go unpunished. We can leave it to God.
“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.”2 Thessalonians 1:6-9
Indeed, there are stern warnings from God for anyone who devalues or hates those whom God values and loves. However, there are incredible promises of hope and blessing for those who will turn from past wrongs, will love and trust God, and will join Him in loving others without prejudice.
“Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? …And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”1 Corinthians 6:9,11
God loves to forgive and bless those who come to Jesus in faith, turning away from evil to be filled with His love. Jesus died to correct injustice and to bring justice. He died for us because we deserve to die for our sins.
Because of Jesus, it is now the expression of God’s justice to forgive those who put their faith in Him (1 John 1:9). Make no mistake, every wrong of every person will receive full justice – either on the cross of Jesus or in the fires of hell. I don’t know about you, but I choose the cross.
If vengeance belongs to God, then what is our role in times like these other than to cry out in protest?
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink…’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”Romans 12:14-21
With broken hearts and with God’s help, let’s shun evil and actively love others with our words, actions, and prayers.
Oh God, comfort the Arbery and Floyd families. Give strength, courage, relief, and freedom to all those suffering injustices.
Give wisdom and love to our officers and officials who are trying to prevent and correct injustice.
Provide for those who have suffered the destruction of their property and businesses.
Bring change to our world by the power of your Spirit.
Let your church rise up and lead the way.
Let your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.