A LETTER FROM THE FULL ELDER TEAM OF NEW LIFE CHURCH
Dear New Life Family,
The elders of New Life Church are deeply saddened by the senseless murder last week of George Floyd in Minneapolis. While this particular instance did not happen in our own backyard, the pain is felt far and wide. This is sadly one more instance to add to an unfathomably long list of racial injustices in our country. We condemn both systemic and specific acts of racism, discrimination, and prejudice, and stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been harmed by these evils. We, the Church, in obedience to God’s Word seek to be advocates for the dignity and sanctity of all human life.
One scripture passage that has come to mind recently is Micah 6. God, through the prophet Micah, tells the Israelites that he is not pleased with their many offerings and sacrifices. Verse 8 instead says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” This is an important command to remember given our current climate.
Do Justice. We serve a perfectly just God. Deuteronomy 10:17-18 says, “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.” We, the church, should reflect God’s desire for justice and be outraged when there is injustice. We should strive for equality and oppose oppression. We are called to action.
Love Kindness. We know there are many of you in our church family who are hurting over the continued acts of injustice in our country. 1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us that when one member of the body suffers, we all suffer and Galatians 6:2 calls us to carry one another’s burdens. We want you to know that we support you and we call on our church family to extend kindness to all those who are hurting in our nation.
Walk Humbly with your God. We have been grieved by stories from our church family. Mothers who are afraid their children may not make it to adulthood; children who are scared because of the color of their skin; men who leave the house for a simple errand and pray that they will get to come home; people who see another person of color speaking with someone and consider whether they should video the instance in case something bad happens; police unnecessarily being called because “something looked suspicious” right here in Gahanna. These thoughts are heartbreaking and may be completely foreign to some of us. But we understand that for too many people in our society, including many brothers and sisters in our church family, these things are common. We walk humbly in light of this, trying to increase our awareness and understanding.
As you may feel led to humbly reach out to people, please consider the following:
- Don’t dismiss what someone else has experienced. Just because you have not experienced a situation does not mean it is not common to someone else.
- Seek to overcome the unfamiliar. If someone has experienced things that make us uncomfortable, don’t shy away from that. We should be uncomfortable when members of our church family face injustice.
- Don’t offer trite phrases or solutions. We live in a fallen world where there is sin and injustice and we must not oversimplify that reality.
- Listen with compassion. Sometimes people just need to be heard and to know that you care.
- Don’t offer qualifications or critiques. Don’t acknowledge that something was wrong and then add a “but” with things that could have been done differently in order to minimize the injustice.
- Consider reaching out to people individually instead of posting a blanket statement on social media. If you do post on social media, consider whether your post is more likely to unite or divide.
- Most of all, please remember that we are one, diverse body and one family. We should acknowledge and celebrate our differences while striving for unity around the cross of Christ.
Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with your God.
The Elder Team of New Life Church and Campus Pastors