Rioting in the streets, an approaching national election that may change the face of America, and an uncertain future have left many of us sleepless and concerned. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess; we’re a nation in deep trouble!
The first and greatest commandment, said Jesus, is that “You should love the Lord your God.” And a second, a take-off from the first, is that “You should love your neighbor as yourself.” These two commandments go together; as we have turned away from God, we have turned against our “neighbor.”
I need not prove the point. Watch the news. Observe men beating men they do not know, mobs entering a business to steal everything they can get their hands on, young people stoning their local police, there under assignment to protect the community.
What we have here is not a political or social problem, we have a spiritual problem. The hatred shown our police, the devastation of our cities, and the call for changes that defy common-sense, is evil. Race relations are not being served, social inequities are not being resolved, and no one is better off for all the mayhem.
I admit that, as a white man, I am unable to identify with the pain and suffering that has been festering in the black community. America needs help; things need to change. The death of those who like George Floyd have suffered at the hands of the white community must count for something. But we have not helped ourselves by turning away from God. We have loosened the restraints of moral responsibility, hoping a free society will be a happy society. It will not happen!
So what do we do?
Miles McPherson, onetime football player for the San Diego Chargers, and now pastor of Rock Church, San Diego, has addressed the problem plaguing America in his book, The Third Option. Moved by the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Rashard Brooks and George Floyd, McPherson says those of us who care have another alternative, a Third Option. We can back off from highlighting our differences and honor those things we have in common.
We can, he says, 1). Acknowledge our blind spots and admit we don’t always know what others have gone through; 2). Rename “others” as your brother or sister. Don’t label others in a way that destroys what we have in common; 3). Be the person who, in the name of Jesus Christ, makes others feel welcome in your group; 4). Acknowledge your brother or sister’s color. It is OK to validate the way God made us; and, 5). View every conversation as a race consultation. Before you make assumptions, get the facts.
I question whether Miles McPherson’s philosophy will change the face of America. I do not see fundamental change coming to America short of a spiritual revival. But his approach can surely change me, and that, I believe, is where we must each begin.
America needs God, and if they are going to find Him, they will do so through men and women who reflect the love and compassion our God has for all His children. Our role is not to convict others of sin; that is the role of the Holy Spirit. Our mission is to show love and compassion, to tell the angry, rioting mob we care, and that God has a solution to all their frustrations and hurt. His Name is Jesus!