What if we didn't pick?
A few weeks back Efrem Smith gave the sermon at our church. Efrem is a great communicator and preached a solid sermon. But one story, stuck in the middle of his sermon, grabbed hold of me and has yet to let go. In March of 2018, Stephon Clark was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers. This event was polarizing in our community and people quickly began to take sides. Protests took place, fingers were pointed, and neighborhoods were divided.
As so often happens in these types of situations, congregations began to take sides and place blame, just as the rest of the world did. As Efrem reminded our church of this tense time for our area, he went on to share that the church that he pastors "didn't have the luxury of choosing sides." Why? Because the church that he pastors includes the chief and deputy chief of the Sacramento Police Department and the grandparents of Stephon Clark. They couldn't choose sides because they were called to minister to people on both sides of the issue.
We live in an age of division.
We live in an age where our media outlets inform us of what we are supposed to be outraged by.
We live in an age where we are surrounded by people who are hurting and broken.
We, as the Church, have the option to join the division, choose sides, and point fingers... or we can choose to minister to people on both sides of the issue.
In John 8, Jesus is presented with an outrageous sin: a woman who had committed adultery. The leaders of the day approached him and demanded that he choose a side. Jesus decided that rather than condemn, point fingers, or pronounce a sentence (which he had every right to), he would instead minister to both sides of the issue and give up the luxury of choosing a side. This allowed him to speak truth and grace to all sides of the issue.
I pray that we all learn to do the same.