Every Tribe, Every Tongue, Every Nation

This year, calls for racial justice have been louder, stronger, and more consistent than
ever before. Out of all the things that happened this past year, the realization of how
racism is ingrained within our country has become crystal clear. The cracks in different
systems and even daily life that have been created because of racism have split wide open
for all of us to see.

Different issues and situations that have been caused by either explicit or implicit racism
have led to an increase in racial tensions. Many people, including Christ followers, have
felt feelings of anger because of the injustice that is occurring. Feeling anger is okay. But
what isn’t okay is being controlled by anger.

In John chapter 2, we see an example of Jesus feeling righteous anger because many
moneychangers had turned His Father’s house into a marketplace. Jesus became angry,
and rightfully so, but He didn’t let anger dictate His actions. Before he cleared out the
temple the Bible says that he made a whip from small cords in order to drive the money
changers out. When we stop to think about it, it must have taken a good amount of time
in order to create a whip out of small cords in such a precise manner, such as weaving the
strands together.

This situation shows us that Jesus did not act out of His anger, but took His time in
determining the proper way in which He should carry out justice for His Father’s temple.
Christ’s example is one we should follow when it comes to dismantling the systems that
continue to oppress people. We can’t act out of our anger.

Many times, our human nature wants us to act immediately. As Christ followers, I think
we often use the story of Christ clearing out the temple as an excuse for the motive
behind our action. However, many times we skip over the process of taking time to
weave the whip; we blindly follow our feelings and emotions without considering what
God would have us to do.

I’m reminded of a passage in Isaiah 42 that describes Jesus saying, “...He will bring
justice to the nations. He will not shout or raise His voice in public... He will not falter or
lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth...”

This doesn’t mean that clearing out the temple is wrong. It doesn’t mean that our anger is
wrong. God doesn’t desire us to stay silent when faced with the opportunity to speak out
against racial injustice, but it does mean we take the time to stop and align our hearts with
God’s before taking action.

Justice doesn’t come out of a place of anger, but out of a place of love. God is a God of
both justice and love. He cannot deny the nature of who he is. We cannot have justice
without love, and love must be the driving force of justice.

Our calls for justice, for ending the systems that uphold racism, should be because we
love our brothers and sisters so much that we desire for them to step fully into the
freedom that Christ desires them to have, no matter their race. Our calls for justice
should be because we love God so much that we earnestly pray that God gives us His
eyes to see that each and every person is created in His image. Our calls for justice should
be because we desire to have heaven come down to earth so we can have a small glimpse
of what it says in Revelation 7:9 of every tribe, tongue, and nation worshipping the Lord
together.

Our God is a God that desires to break the chains of oppression, and I believe that, as the
body of Christ, we can partner with God in order to be used by him to do so, while letting
love and justice lead the way.

Author | Rosalie Vendrell

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