The unjust killing of George Floyd on a Minneapolis street on May 25 ripped at my heart and the heart of a nation. To see his life callously snuffed out was overwhelming and piercing. But it’s not a singular situation. There has been life after life after life over many years that has been unjustly and unrighteously taken.
It’s an endemic problem that needs deep fixing.
Simultaneous to our medical pandemic, we’re in a cultural pandemic—a devolution of our society—caused by a spiritual pandemic. We have wandered away from a value system that was established by God for how human beings were to live and act and relate to one another. Across race and class lines we have come up with our own standards, and it has not done us good.
We absolutely need a reset, and this is the time to do it.
The Bible is clear. Psalm 89:14 says that from God’s throne comes righteousness and justice. And this is not a seesaw where sometimes you go for righteousness and other times for justice. These are twin towers—they are always to be balanced. Righteousness is the moral standard of right and wrong based on God’s divine standard. Justice is the equitable and impartial application of God’s moral law in society. And God wants both. He wants to protect the life of the unborn in the womb. He also wants to see justice for those lives already born extended to the tomb. In other words, God wants a whole life agenda, not a term agenda.
Unfortunately, all lives aren’t valued the same way, and they ought to be—because every person is created in the image of Almighty God.
It is now time, on a personal and a systemic level, to reverse the course of history that has brought us to this point on all levels. God has four levels in which life is to be lived; four bases on which he interacts with humanity. Therefore, changes are needed on all four of these levels. We call it the Kingdom agenda, the visible manifestation of the comprehensive rule of God over every area of life.
This Kingdom agenda starts with the individual. It starts with you and me. If we won’t allow God to change our own individual hearts, how can He change the nation? Each of us must develop a heart that cares for our fellow man created in the image of God. Each person has the stamp of divine creation on them. That means that you have the responsibility to reach out to somebody different than you. Let them understand where you came from, the things that have influenced your perspective. Hear from them. Give them an audience. And then both of you find out what God has to say about the matter in His Word.
And then there’s your family. We must be transferring values to our children. Don’t expect them to think differently and act differently if they aren’t getting a righteous value system that judges people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Connect with other families who are different than you, who don’t look like you. Then together, go serve yet another family who is worse off than you. Reconciliation doesn’t happen in seminars, it happens in shared service done in Jesus’ Name!
And then the church. The biggest problem in the culture today is the church, because we have failed to be what the head of the church, Jesus Christ, called us to be. It’s no surprise, then, that we have failed to be the repairer of the breach in our culture. We wouldn’t even have a racial crisis in America if the church had not failed to deal with this sin. But because the church has dismissed it, ignored it or even promoted it, we still have this division in our culture. That means that we do not just stand up against personal sins but corporate sins and systemic sins. And our voice must be heard—one voice, where God has spoken and has not stuttered. There should be no uncertain sound coming from the church when we have a certain sound coming from our Master.
This also means addressing societal structures that perpetuate evil. Protest, righteously carried out, is absolutely a Biblical concept. That’s why the Apostle Paul protested in Acts 16 when he was arrested unrighteously. We must take our stand, not only in speech but in action that gives visible evidence to our verbal testimony. Now, don’t expect God to fix the White House or the statehouse if the church won’t allow Him to fix the church house. With our affairs in order, we need to challenge our civic leaders to act and speak civilly; to speak healing words, not hurting words; unifying words, not divisive language. And then we must challenge them, since they influence the systems of the land, to truly advance liberty and justice for all.
And finally, this Kingdom agenda addresses the larger culture. It speaks first of all not from a political platform but from a Bible-centric platform. Since God doesn’t ride the backs of donkeys or elephants, the church must speak with one voice because we have one God, one Lord Jesus Christ, and one inerrant Word to guide us. Yes, we should protest evil in a righteous way. We should let our voices be heard. But then we must act to implement righteous principles, modeling them through the church, so that we can see what they look like on the outside.
All of this must begin and end with prayer and be carried through with prayer. I don’t just mean, “God help us.” No, I’m talking about repentance of sin, realigning ourselves under God’s authority while pursuing a relationship with Him. His Word must overrule our ideas, perspectives and agendas.
When we begin to walk with God on all four levels of His Kingdom agenda, then we’ll see Him begin to do some amazing things to advance His agenda. ©2020 Tony Evans
Tony Evans is founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, and founder and president of The Urban Alternative.
This article is adapted by permission from a June 1 Facebook video by Tony Evans.
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Evans