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How Change Happens – Addressing Racism

By June 4, 2020Church

I’m writing this on June 4, 2020, a little over one week after the horrific killing of George Floyd. The last few weeks have been difficult and inspired many needed conversations. In an already polarized culture, we’ve been confronted with how differently many people see the world. As a Christ-follower, what I’m interested in this: How should we see the world? How does change happen in the challenging and painful environment we find ourselves in?

I believe the Apostle Peter provides a good place to start:

Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil (emphasis mine). – 1 Peter 3:10–12

Change begins when God’s people “turn from evil and do good” and “seek peace and pursue it.”

As Christ-followers we cannot be satisfied simply thinking, “I am not that kind of person. I am not prejudiced. I am not evil.”

That’s how I’ve often thought as a white middle class pastor.

According to Peter, spiritual transformation is the process of admitting our sin (turning from evil) and then actively doing what is good. If you only turn from evil and don’t actively do good or pursue peace, then you are choosing to miss what God desires most for you — to be like him:

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:22-24

As Christians, we’ve taught that Jesus came to rescue us from our old selves. Why? Because our old way of life came with old habits, old attitudes, and deceitful desires that corrupted our way of living.

But that’s not the end of the gospel message. Jesus also came to make us new – new ways of thinking, new ways of seeing. In short, he came to give us a “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” The point is not to be a better version of ourselves, but to be like God.

Where can you start?

Listen to people who are different from you before telling them how good you are. Admit those times when you can’t relate to their experience. Find resources that will help you understand the issues at hand.

Bottom line: We can’t move forward while standing still.

This is true in any area of life where change needs to happen. If you want a better marriage, you have to work for it. If you want to be healthier, you have to eat and exercise differently. If you want a world where everyone is loved, valued, and treated with respect – that takes work.

May we individually and as the church determine to “turn from evil and do good” and “seek peace and pursue it.”

Experience and Background

  • 25+ years of senior leadership experience
  • masters in management and leadership
  • presenter at the WFX National Conference
  • former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
  • helped start 2 for-profit tech companies

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