Hi Friends,

Today, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges. Soon the jury for the Ahmaud Arbery case will also go to deliberations. I am still processing everything that I’m hearing, reading, and seeing, as I’m sure you are as well. As we process, I felt a burden to encourage us to keep three Biblical categories in view. There are many things to consider, but these are three basic things that should guide us regardless of how we feel about what’s going on.

In both of these cases, there has been the loss of life. As Christians, we should always grieve when an image bearer of God is violently taken from this world. Our first response should not be to think about justifiable self defense, but to mourn those lost and the loved ones they left behind. I think about King David when he heard that his enemy, Saul, had been killed. He tore his clothes and wept. As Christins, we are to be pro life for every life. Therefore, we should mourn the loss of any life. Regardless of what you think should happen in these cases, be a human first and feel for the loss suffered. Enter into others’ pain and lament the brokenness of our world.

I’m sure that different people are going to process these things in different ways. I want to encourage you to be more concerned about understanding others than being understood yourself. Biblical wisdom tells us that “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens” (Pro 12:15 ESV) and “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” (Pro 18:2 ESV) Years from now, as we look back at how we were during this time, may it be that we look back at gratitude for not being fools. Fools only consider their own opinion. Fools don’t listen to others. Fools don’t want to understand. May we flee these things and press into the godly wisdom of listening and understanding one another.

While I’m still processing everything going on, this much is clear to me; I am called to love the people around me, especially the precious saints of Christ Church. It’s not by accident that God has us in 1 Corinthians 13 right as this is breaking. I’m not sure what is going to happen in response to this ruling. I don’t know which way the Ahmaud Arbery case is going to go. But I do know there are people right in front of me that God wants me to spend my energy loving. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Joh 13:35 ESV) In times of such much tension, may the love of Christ in us be extended from us to one another and make us stand out all the more as witnesses for Jesus.

Finally, I want to encourage us to pray. May we pray for peace in whatever protests may occur. May we pray for justice and progress to be made. May we pray for protection from harm done physically or to property. May we pray for repentance in racial relationships and reconciliation in the name of Christ. May we pray for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus, our only true hope in a world full of brokenness. Finally, may we pray that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit would be with us all.

I love you, Christ Church, as do all your pastors. Please reach out to us if you want to process or just want prayer. These are heavy times. But grace will get us through.

God bless you,
Pastor Jeff