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Who is my neighbor? Responding to Racial Injustice

By June 5, 2020No Comments
Ending racial injustice by recognizing the value of all human life made in the image of God

Who is my neighbor? In Luke 10 when Jesus is asked by a lawyer, “Who is my neighbor,” he tells the story of the Good Samaritan. If you have never read the story before, the basic idea is that the Samaritan goes out of his way to help a man who has been robbed and left for dead. Others pass by the robbed man and ignore his issues, but the Samaritan sees the distress, binds the man’s wounds, and takes him to an inn where he pays for the man’s stay. When the lawyer is challenged as to who the neighbor is to the robbed man it is clear that the Samaritan is his neighbor because he showed mercy. Jesus challenges the lawyer and says,

You go and do likewise

Recent events surrounding George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have challenged all of us to ask this same question, “Who is my neighbor?”

Racial injustices are, unfortunately, not a new aspect of our society. At Miracle Hill we value all humans as having worth, and we grieve the recurring injustices experienced by our African American brothers and sisters. I don’t think we can point fingers at those injustices without each of us first looking deep within our own hearts and determining how we are contributing to or detracting from the problems we are facing as a society. In our work at Miracle Hill we see the injustices in our society on a daily basis. Inequality comes in many forms. Our guests and staff experience this concerning race, socioeconomic status, mental health status, and a variety of other defining characteristics.

These individuals are deserving of justice, impartiality, objectivity, and each is in fact our neighbor.

Who is my brother?

Jesus himself poses this question in the 12th chapter of Matthew. His answer is, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” As we each individually condemn racism in our own hearts and in our society, those of us that know Jesus as Lord and Savior are called to lead the charge against these injustices. The Church is exhorted to challenge the attitudes and systems in our society that preserve racism. Remember when Christ is asked what the most important commandment is, He says in Matthew 22:37-40:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

And a second is like it

The God of the universe says loving our neighbors is like loving God. We, the Church, have no excuse to not stand against the injustices of society. The human race is who God has called us to serve, and He doesn’t define it by age, or sex, or race, or issue, or sin. We are called to love. The depth of our willingness to love others can often be seen in our attempt to interact with someone who doesn’t look like us, act like us, or believe like us. Anything short of fearless, unabashed love is not a direct representation of the God we say we love.

We, as believers, either believe that all are made in God’s image, or we don’t. There is no in-between. Our pursuit should be centered on the truth of the scripture, the value of human life, and the spreading of the Gospel. The more we do this together, the better this world will be. Aren’t we called to minister to the world with the truth of God’s love? Shouldn’t we stop on the side of the road and help those that are hurting? Isn’t that what Jesus has entrusted us to do on His behalf?

Fight Against Injustice

In Miracle Hill’s work, we are called to the least and the lost, and there is still a lot of work to be done to value each of these human lives. Likewise, there is much to be done as a society to fight on behalf of those who experience systemic trauma. There is no excuse for us to not examine and eliminate the structures that perpetuate injustices. We stand with the African American community and call for a fearless conversation to begin in our homes, schools, and the communities we find ourselves in daily. We know that if there is a dynamic change of the heart, we will find a dynamic change to the issues we face today.

 

Post submitted by Ryan Duerk, President/CEO of Miracle Hill Ministries. Ryan can be reached at rduerk@miraclehill.org.