The Charlottesville tragedy still resounds throughout America.
But more so for the parents of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, killed protesting a rally by Nazis and white supremacists.
Her father, Mark Heyer, urged forgiveness, and began that painful process by forgiving the man who drove his car into a crowd of protestors, striking his daughter.
“People need to stop hating and forgive each other,” he said.
“The guy who did this, he doesn’t know any better. … I remember what the Lord said on the cross, Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”
Hate and racism is in the spotlight.
But God’s love is the answer to stopping the hate.
As Christians, we can:
- Pray for compassion and understanding.
- Pray for the healing of our divided nation.
- Pray that our great country returns whole-heartedly to the Judeo-Christian values upon which America was founded.
- Pray that our hearts be cleansed of hate through a renewed relationship with our Creator.
- Pray that we reclaim a commitment to biblical values of equality and love and use them to replace the lowest common denominator of hate and violence.
As Christians and Americans, we can acknowledge that:
- For many African-Americans, especially in the South, the Confederacy – with its flags and statues — is directly tied to the rationalization of slavery and racism.
- We are a nation of laws, and that everyone has a Constitutional right to assemble in protest, no matter how offensive we believe the person or group to be.
- We can influence our political leaders and the media to embrace a spirit of statesmanship and refrain from the divisive use of political identity labels, which serve only to divide our country.
- Our church leaders have, and should use, their moral authority to call out and reject these labels that spur hatred and encourage violent reactions.
- Everyone – EVERYONE – is made in God’s image and worthy of dignity and respect. Racial reconciliation is the knowledge that all human beings are made in the image of God. To declare war on a race of people is akin to declaring war on our Creator.
- As a nation, President Trump should declare a Day of Prayer and Repentance. And if he doesn’t, the church should do it anyway.
Former President Ronald Reagan addressed this disturbing trend for bigotry and violence in America when in 1981 he said:
Bigotry and violence is perpetrated by groups who still adhere to senseless racism and religious prejudice. … You are the ones who are out of step with our society. You are the ones who willfully violate the meaning of the dream that is America. This country, because of what it stands for, will not stand for your conduct.”
What does God’s Word say about hatred?
1 John 2:11 says, “But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
I am convinced we must have God’s divine guidance in our lives, that “Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).
To end all this hating, it must start with us, following the personal outline in Ephesians 4:31:
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
Only then can we begin to see others as fellow human beings.
CLICK HERE to watch Mark Heyer’s powerful testimony in this 3-minute video:
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