The Pain of Injustice and the Hope of Jesus
I’ve had this hesitation to bring Jesus into conversation about race. I couldn’t have told you that two weeks ago, but I’ve came to the painful realization. ⠀ ⠀ Why, you ask? I’m worried that a statement about the hope of Jesus amongst brokenness would seem dismissive to peoples pain. I’m worried that people don’t want Jesus, they want to be angry. And most of all, I am worried that telling my black brothers and sisters to just “have hope in Jesus” would be a blanket statement that sounds nice, but has no meaning. ⠀ ⠀ This “Jesus encouragement” can feel really empty. And to be honest, it is. ⠀ ⠀ Have you ever been in a broken state just to be met with, “Just trust God, he’ll get you through it.” What does that even mean? Who is Jesus? What is trust? If we give the “Jesus statement” without WHO the biblical Jesus is, it’s empty. Especially if your view of God is an unattainable, out of reach deity who has no tangible hope for your pain today. ⠀ ⠀ It’s like giving someone a love letter in a different language. No matter how powerful and life-altering the letter is, its meaningless unless you understand what it says. ⠀ ⠀ So let me tell you that Jesus Christ is the ultimate fighter for Justice. Let me tell you that we can have hope in Jesus, who loves you and sees your pain. But let me also tell you why: ⠀ ⠀ Hope in Jesus isn’t passive. It’s an ACTIVE call to participate in fighting injustice in this world today, as well holding an ultimate hope, where one day, everything will be put right. ⠀ If we say we are made in God’s image and He fights for justice, WE fight for justice. ⠀ ⠀ But don’t take my word for it, look at Jesus himself. If look at the culture of First-Century, we see how RADICAL it was that Jesus interacted with and loved the people he did. Matthew, a tax collector who was despised by by his own people. A man with leporacy, who experienced social distancing his entire life. The outsider. The marginalized. This Jesus didn’t spend his days lounging with the religious elites and the rich, avoiding the discomfort of the marginalized.
To put this into a modern day comparison, Jesus’ “crowd” would look nothing like most of our cookie-cutter churches today. ⠀ ⠀ Wow, do we have a God who radically loved all creation in a way I hope to do halfway well. ⠀ ⠀ So when we bring our confusion, pain, convictions, and brokenness to Jesus, we can trust his ability to empathize. “Hope in Jesus” doesn’t have to be an empty statement to try to make others feel better. He wholeheartedly hates injustice. He is more anti-racist, anti-prejudice, and anti-passive than we ever could be. ⠀ ⠀ So I choose to trust this Jesus. The Jesus of the Bible. His radical love is my guide, and his grace is sufficient for all the ways I’m still messing up in this conversation about race. ⠀ ⠀ May our worship of this radical Jesus lead us to emulate him and His hope. ⠀