"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm."
— Ephesians 6:12-13 (NASB)
As I ponder my thoughts while writing this column, my emotions are uneasy because of recent events throughout the nation.
The Pastor’s Corner is designed to expose a portion of the spiritual knowledge from God that has been shared with ministers of the gospel. However, the gospel preached throughout the word of God is always relevant to the times, presenting a "right now" word.
Recently, hatred has been the focus of heinous acts against unarmed African-American men killed by police officers who have been sworn to serve and protect. I do understand that there have been various murders and incidents that have affected mass groups of people, but this topic is the current focus in the media and in the African-American community.
I’ve been asked, "Why?" I’ve been told how painful it feels. People have shared how mad they are. And most have wondered, "What can we do?"
This I do know, to hate someone is to sin, because the only thing we should hate is sin. I don’t have all the answers, but what the word of God says concerning any enemy remains the same. We are to love our enemies.
Luke 6:27-28 says, "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."
Jesus continually drew our attention specifically to caring for those we tend to condemn or discount. Because then, as now, there are people who are marginalized, condemned and shut out of the system, and the signature of Jesus’ mission and ministry is all about drawing our attention to them. The African-American male statistically has become the lesser of our society. As Christians, we all should be concerned by recent events.
Recently, at a Bible study we had a dialogue about current events, and I reminded God’s people of our role as children of God.
1. Pray. There is never a move that should be made without seeking God’s wisdom and guidance. You can never pray too much.
2. Recognize the enemy. We are not wrestling against flesh and blood. There is higher force at work.
3. Stay focused. Set your minds on things above, don’t allow the media to drive your emotions or reactions.
4. Refuse to return evil for evil. Don’t allow evil to overcome you, but overcome evil with good.
5. Remain patient in God’s work. Having done everything to stand, stand firm on the power of a true and living God who knows all and sees all.
Some will march, some will protest, some will pray, some will remain silent, some will be vocal. But we all are here together, and there is a way to live in peace. We are all responsible for striving to find a better way. Right remains right, and wrong will always be wrong.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Keep standing!
Hayes is the pastor of New Day Community Church and the president of the United Ministerial Alliance.