Another day, Another modern lynching.
News of another state sanctioned murder of Black life hits our timelines. Between our outrage, sorrow, and hopeless is situated a common refrain: “all we can do is pray. Prayers for the family. God has a plan. Everything happens for a reason.” The murder occurs, we call for prayer. Police officers are given administrative leave with pay, we call for prayer. Grand juries summoned, cases are heard, and no one is held accountable, still we call for prayer. And the cycle begins anew as the newest hashtag emerges.
Prayer is no longer enough.
When is it enough? When will we stop calling for and participating in passive prayer? Prayers of beautiful but empty words have done nothing in the face of state-sanctioned murders. We have uttered prayers for peace and yet, as of now, of 500+ people slain by police in 2016, over 150 of them have been Black. It is time to acknowledge that we need more than prayer to fight injustice.
We need more than sanctified lip service.
Christians need to honor that prayer only works when you do. Prayers that aren’t followed by active work towards justice, life, and liberty for all are nothing more than feel-good sentiments that only benefit ourselves. We have to understand the immense frustration that these continued injustices bring. We have to honor the truth that repeated murders where the victim is criminalized before the perpetrators are good cause for questioning the existence of a just and benevolent God. We cannot shirk our responsibilities to be change agents by using “God’s will” as a blanketed excuse.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, yet many of us are too scared to speak up and out against what is wrong. Galatians 6 tells us that we are responsible for helping people return to the right path by bearing each other’s burdens, yet we use prayer to ignore rather than heal acts of oppression. God is not coming down to wave his hand over injustices and *magic sparkle* them away. If we believe that God uses people, WE are responsible for correcting injustice. WE are responsible for adding feet to our prayers and moving our words from empty banter to weighted declarations.
Christians are obligated to do more than just pray
Faith without works is dead. The longer we continue to profess our faith without doing the work, the quicker we bring spiritual death. The work we are called to do? “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 NASB) Yes, the Bible tells us that vengeance belongs to God but that doesn’t remove us from the responsibility of working for justice. Consider the following passage:
“Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. Now the LORD saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, And His righteousness upheld Him.” Isaiah 59:15-16 NASB
God was APPALLED at the lack of action. Appalled that no one did the work to bring justice. I’m sure people were praying but the Lord wanted to see action and found none. We as Christians have been called and equipped to do more but, as with other tenets of our faith, have become lazy and reliant on clichés of what we THINK God is calling for instead of studying and understanding His/Her instructions.
Correcting what is right is a task for all of us. Amos 5:24 says we should let justice roll down like waters. Isaiah 1:17 says that we should SEEK justice and CORRECT oppression. Proverbs 21:3 says that to do justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. I ask you:
How much more time and justice against oppression will we sacrifice by offering inactive prayers?
If you’d like to help, there is a donation fund led by content creator Issa Rae: the Alton Sterling Family Scholarship Fund
Update (7/7/16 – 5:10 AM EST): #PhilandoCastile is the latest victim in Minnesota: WATCH: Falcon Heights, Minnesota Police Shooting Facebook Live Video [WARNING: GRAPHIC]