How do you define the term? Perhaps the easiest definition is “not the same.” But then we must ask, what is the definition of “same?” If our answer is “not different,” we may be right, but we really have not defined anything. We are simply speaking in circles – different is not the same and the same is not different. And around we go again.
It is difficult to not be aware of all that is happening in our world. It is disturbing if we are not aware of the big picture of why it is happening. However, as I mentioned last week, I cannot fully understand, and maybe never will, fully understand the true essence of the pain. But I know what has happened is wrong in so many ways and on so many levels.
Ultimately, the only thing that I know about this situation is that people are hurting. And because people are hurting, they are seeking answers. They are seeking something different. To some degree, we all are.
But answers often elude us. Or at least the answers we seek often do. Thus, we have the protests (and riots). The approach is meant to get the attention of the authorities (and people in general), and by-and-large, the approach has worked.
And I do believe that change will be the result. It must be the result.
But will that change be right? No one can know. All we can know is that it will be different.
Is defunding police departments the right approach? I don’t know. Will the removal of certain landmarks and monuments provide the answer? I don’t know. Will a different government leader help? I don’t know.
Different people are trying different approaches, and when these approaches are as part of a protest (i.e. not rioting), people are simply exercising their constitutional right to assemble. But that does not mean that their approach is right. Nor does it mean it is wrong.
It just means that the solution(s) they seek is/are different from the current options.
The challenge is that people have been seeking different solutions (using all kinds of approaches/methods) for centuries. Some work better than others, but all of them seem to fail over time.
Unfortunately, that is true for the Church as well.
Now, I am not suggesting that Jesus has failed. Rather, the tool He promised to build to help make His Kingdom known, has failed – over and over again. That is a part of the issue right now.
I am not saying the Church is the answer (it is not!), but she should point to the answer. After all, the One to whom she is to point said, “I am THE way, I am THE truth, I am THE life.” That way, that truth, that life, is different – very different – than what most people see when they think of Jesus, and that is the fault of the Church.
Again, the Church is not the answer, but we can (we must!) point to the Answer. However, over the centuries, the Church has faced her own set of problems, and does so today as well. And those problems have always included issues like race relations. In fact, the idea of race relations is a core part of some of the writings found in the Bible as seen in some of the letters written to various churches (such as Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians).
So, the issues (including race relations) are not new. And the need to seek answers is nothing new either. But the ultimate answer cannot be found in a reform of the police, or the government. It must begin with a reforming of the heart.
Ultimately, that is the answer that people seek. And that is even the cry for many who are protesting today – they want to see people’s hearts changed. They want people to not only act differently toward others, but to be different in their attitude toward others.
Unfortunately, no amount of government reform will make this change a reality. Something different is definitely needed. Someone different is definitely needed.
And that someone is Jesus.
And until we begin to treat Him differently – beginning IN THE CHURCH – the difference we desire in society will never come to pass – at least not fully. Of course, I realize some will think it is naïve to think it can happen at all. But it was Jesus who taught us to pray – “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
The real naivete is to think that everyone will pray those words. But frankly, the problem is that the Church does not believe those words rightly. Too many people (Christians) want to die and go to heaven, but that is not what Jesus taught. He taught we are to desire the Kingdom to come – and for that to happen, we must start doing His will.
That is a difference that will matter. If everyone who believes (including me!) would take one more step towards following God’s will, this earth would be a better place. How could it not?
So, we may desire something different. But what are we doing about it? Many have taken to the streets of America and around the world. And some in the Church are joining that fight. Surely, those in the Church will make mistakes, but the reality is that if the Church cannot get it right, how can we expect society to get it right? The Church should be leading the charge on so many different issues, not in place of the gospel, but because of it.
Sure, something different is coming. A revolution has begun. It has begun because people are hurting. But it will not fully be realized until the people who are hurting can truly be healed. That healing may take time. Indeed, it likely will.
But the reality is that the only cure for the true healing which is needed is only possible through one name.
And that name is Jesus.