Twelve weeks ago when this daily devotional began, our nation (and the world) was facing a monumental problem. The United States had not faced a pandemic like COVID-19 in a hundred years and none of us really knew how it was going to play out. Three months later, while the virus still poses a significant threat, we have a bit of a better handle on the situation and are starting to resume life in some ways with the hope that perhaps the worst is behind us.
As this devotional transitions from a daily to a bi-weekly format, our nation is confronting yet another massive problem. The United States has not dealt with sustained racial tensions on a coast-to-coast scale like this for over fifty years. The murder of George Floyd has resulted in nationwide protests, which have turned into riots in numerous large cities. There have been reports of agents (from police departments, white supremacy groups, etc.) inciting the destruction. There are videos of police using unnecessary violence against peaceful protestors and journalists. The National Guard has been called to several states. The tension only seems to be escalating. It seems that since the era of the Civil Rights Movement, Americans in general have thought that we have had a better handle on the racial divide; we had hoped that the worst was behind us. And while perhaps in the worst is behind us in terms of the letter of the laws of the land, it is quite clear that we have a long way to go before the spirit of our laws are honored.
Jesus came to reorient people’s minds and hearts to honor the spirit of what it means to follow God, and not merely be content with obeying the letter of His law. His life and death proved that it is not an easy thing for us to undergo such a reorientation; it requires sacrifice. And it is clear that there will be sacrifices required from us if we want to help bring justice and healing to our nation. “Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (Philippians 2:4). May we be willing to sacrifice in order to be agents of peace, justice, and love like Jesus!