Where We Stand
The Bible tells us that there is a time to listen and a time to speak out (James 1:19). We at Missions Door have listened, mourned, and prayed, and now want to speak briefly on God’s heart and our heart regarding recent events.
Along with all people of good conscience, we at Missions Door have been horrified at the atrocities against the African American community in this country. The recent murder of George Floyd, on the heels of killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, has brought our country to a crucial point that begs everyone to not only open our eyes to the reality of the ongoing and pervasive racism that exists within our country, but also to the extent to which it can exist within ourselves. As Christians, we cannot ignore that both this underlying racism and its often unconscious manifestations in our own hearts and actions is not aligned with God’s reality, his intentions for his children, or his intentions for our world.
The Bible tells us that through Christ we are being made new (2 Corinthians 5:17), our minds are transformed (Romans 12:2), and our former selves are stripped away (Ephesians 4:22). As Christians, we must call upon the Lord in our weakness and in our sin, and ask that he forgive us and make us new. The more we learn from those who are different from us, the more we will understand the good and powerful God who created and loves each of us with an infinite, passionate, never-ending love.
Jesus is clear that loving God cannot be separated from loving others (Matthew 22:36-40), and that our neighbor isn’t the person who is the most similar to us but rather any of God’s dearly loved children (Luke 10:29-37). For those of us who have been lifted out of the inescapable pit of our sin and placed into the family of God, we understand that God doesn’t play favorites. The color of our skin played no part in God’s offer of grace to us.
We embrace that truth for ourselves, yet so often we deny it to others. The reality for us all is that man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). And our hearts must continue to be transformed more and more into the image of God’s heart for his children.
God desires us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8), and Jesus declares in Luke 4 that he has been anointed to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18). We challenge ourselves, and we call upon the Church of God to move beyond merely recognizing these truths to a heartfelt embrace of them, making them a part of the way we treat each other. We seek to follow the command of Isaiah 1:17 to “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Those are all action words, and that call to action is in partnership with the Spirit and each other.
This is core to who we are as Missions Door. Our mission statement as an organization is “to see an unstoppable force of compassionate and culturally-authentic Christ communities”. We work to see God’s love transform hearts all around the world. Our diverse missionary family is a testament to our Multiethnic Focus core value, and we will be working to continue to live out the vision the Bible gives of people of all tribes, tongues and nations united in love and worship of Jesus. 2000 years ago the God of creation kept His promise to send us a Savior. He could have chosen a wealthy and powerful dynasty to nurture His Son. Instead a Jewish family living in the province of Judea who worked with their hands was entrusted with the task. They often experienced prejudice and unfair treatment at the hands of the powerful Romans simply for their ethnic identity. Jesus’ life began and ended in great pain. Isaiah 53 summarizes it well: “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.”
Yes, society and its institutions need to change, and we should seek to bring that about. Laws can restrain evil (1 Timothy 1:9) and laws need change to protect the most vulnerable in our country from those who abuse them. Yet ultimately, hearts need to be surrendered to the King of Kings and recognize the value of each life in the sight of God, and it is through the change of our individual hearts that we will ultimately align our world with God’s kingdom.
We know that God can and will make all things new, and we trust him to do that. It is difficult to know what to say when it comes to issues that are so far-reaching and so ingrained in the history of this country, the greater danger is in keeping silent any longer. So we will respond, not out of fear, but out of boldness for the Gospel. We will pray. We will listen when it is time to listen. We will speak out when it is time to speak out. We will teach our children differently. We will learn from each other. As we take action aligned with God’s heart, we look forward to the return of Jesus when he will wipe away every tear and his perfect peace will reign.