In response to the recent violence in our nation in places like Minnesota, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, and Dallas, Texas, the following was shared at Spring Valley Baptist Church on Sunday, July 10, 2016.  A time of prayer followed, in which the majority of the congregation joined in prayer on their knees.

Our nation is in crisis.  In the last few days, there have been far too many lives taken through acts of violence.  Our nation is hurting.  Our people are hurting.  This is not a political problem.  This is not a racial problem.  This is a sinful human problem.  All the way back to Cain murdering Able, mankind has constantly struggled with anger, hatred, and murder.  We do not like what is not exactly like us, and we lash out.  We segregate in our neighborhoods, our churches, and our social interactions simply based on the color of our skin, our ethnicity, or our social status.

The Church should not be this way.  We need to be a part of the solution, a part of the healing, not a part of the problem.  Our own Southern Baptist Convention was formed as a segregation for white people to have a place to worship apart from all other ethnicities.  A number of years ago, our Convention formally apologized for the racist actions and attitudes of our predecessors.

There should be no place in our lives for hatred, racism, or bigotry.  We cannot live like that.  We must not live like that.  We must be more well know for what we are for than for what we are against.  We must be men and women who bring the Gospel of Peace to every man, woman, and child we come in contact with.  The only hope in this world is Jesus Christ.  The only way for others to know Jesus is through us.  We must not be afraid to love, or afraid to embrace; we must also not be afraid to preach the Gospel, or call sin what it is – sin.  We should not and must not compromise the integrity of the Bible, but we cannot berate, beat down, or belittle those with whom we do not agree and expect them to come to Jesus.

I call us now to prayer.  Prayer of repentance for our lack of caring, for our callousness towards others; but also prayer for healing, restoration, and redemption.  Prayer that through these events in our nation, and through the church, and specifically through our church, Spring Valley Baptist Church, that the Gospel of Jesus will be proclaimed, and that we would be the church that God desires us to be.