June 1 update
Greetings Oak Hill Church,
To say that this past week has been a whirlwind might win an award for “Understatement of the Year.” I’m sure that many of you are both aware and familiar with the eye-opening events that have taken place around our country and right here in our own Twin Cities. The circumstances surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd began a string of activity that has captivated our state and our country in unprecedented ways. But these circumstances that we are witnessing go well beyond a singular event or a specific situation. The scenes that are playing out before our very eyes have immense depth and perspective to them that many of us simply cannot imagine or truly know.
I know that many of you have been experiencing a tsunami of feelings and emotions that are connected with what has been going on in recent days. Fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, confusion, guilt, empathy, remorse, and sadness are just the beginning of a wide list that I know many of you are dealing with and that I have felt myself. It is simply heartbreaking to see the devastation, hurt, pain, and destruction that is on full display around us.
In my previous emailed response from a few days ago, I talked about this brokenness that we are seeing unfold. This brokenness of humanity shows up in many ways. It shows up in the divisive ways that we treat each other. It shows up in the rebellious attitudes that we each have against God due to our sinful nature. It shows up in our disobedience and the innate destructiveness that is in each of us as human beings who need a Savior. Broken people cannot fix broken situations. Thankfully, God does not leave us broken. He gives us grace. He gives us mercy. He fixes us up in His righteousness and perfection. Only He can mend our lives. Only He can remedy this hurt and pain. Only He can fix what is broken.
This brings us to another word that I am often hearing in the ongoing dialogue of these events: “justice.” People are wanting justice for George Floyd. People are wanting justice against those who are burning and looting buildings. We all want justice to be served in some form or fashion as it fits our personal description and understanding. Usually, this cry for justice comes after an act of what we would consider to be injustice. Often times, our definition and understanding of justice involves some form of punishment or restitution. Someone must pay for the wrongs. Someone must answer for the injustice that they have caused or created.
God’s Word also gives us a lens and a renewed perspective on justice for us to take notice of and consider. The reality of this whole injustice vs. justice argument first begins in your life and in mine. Because of our wickedness, brokenness, and sin, each of us have committed an incalculable amount of injustices against God. In His perfect nature and character, God, who is holy, demands justice. The debt is heavy, and the punishment is death. Let that sink in for a moment. We stand as guilty with no possible reason or excuse to avoid what we have coming for the wrong that we have done. And yet, God does something to address our injustice against Him. A good pastor friend of mine wrote this in reference to this amazing act of grace: “From a Christian perspective, justice is not about restitution but restoration; it is about the cross. It is about the brutal death of an innocent [person] to atone for the guilty. Jesus ends the cycle of destruction by offering forgiveness when punishment is deserved.”
God sent His Son to take our punishment. God sent Jesus to bring us restoration. God sent Jesus so that we could be reconciled to Him. God sent Jesus so that we could be forgiven. The cross is where God’s perfect justice was carried out for us. Jesus reverses our punishment and gives us grace.
In these times we are living in, there is no shortage of frustration, anger, conflict, and bitterness. As believers, we must look to God’s Word and trust Him to act in the best way. God’s Word is clear: Jesus has dealt with our injustice. He has paid for it. Justice was served at the cross for you, me, and everyone. We can be thankful that we have a God who operates on a whole other level of what is just, right, and true and He will bring about this restoration. May our prayer be for this restoration to come to bring peace to this situation. May our prayers, actions, and attitudes be motivated to see reconciliation spring up. May this violence and divisiveness that we see around us be meet with grace and forgiveness, the kind that can only be found through the cross and through our Savior. May He do a mighty work to bring this reconciliation in our lives and in our communities.
Connecting Lives in Grace and Truth
Oak Hill Staff Update
Pastor Ben and the Oak Hill Elder Board
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