Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, when the Spirit came to birth the Church, a perfect day to remind us of Kingdom truths in the midst of hatred, violence, and confusion in America.
If you are a person of color today, you might be afraid to leave your home because you might be chased down the street by a private citizen, killed by a police officer, have your business looted by protestors, or even be called into question while bird watching in the park.
For everyone, fear is all around us: fear of mask-wearing people threatening our way of life, fear of people who don’t wear masks threatening community health, fear of Biden or fear of Trump.
So let’s go back to what God teaches us. First, the source of evil is not people. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of wickedness. Second, our highest allegiance is with the Kingdom of God and we are His ambassadors. So hold loosely to your political or social positions as your represent Jesus’ interest in your world. Third, react to situations out of love, not fear. 1 Pe. 4:8 instructs us that love covers a multitude of sins.
So how can you react in love not fear? Start by realizing that others are scared and need your comfort. 1 Cor. 12:26 says when one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers, and Rom. 12:15 says to weep with those who weep. There are people you know who are suffering and you can be God’s agent of comfort to them.
When people are in grieving, the worst thing you can do is be silent. Your silence will cause them pain. But they also don’t need a lecture. They need someone to talk to and be understanding. This can be hard when you don’t know what to say, and even more difficult when you do have something to say to “set them straight.” The best thing is to listen, to weep with those who weep.
My encouragement is this: muster the courage to contact at least one person who might be afraid and simply ask how they are doing, without winning them over to your point of view. Just listen and tell them you care. If that person lashes out at you because of their fear, be like Jesus and don’t be defensive. Extend love, not fear.