A Reflection on Race and Biblical Justice
Written by Nathan Cheung
Over the past year the topics of race, racial equity, and Christian nationalism have been heavy on my heart. I want to be the first to admit that I have blind spots and biases concerning this topic. One moment of introspection came about during the George Floyd video, released almost a year ago. When I saw an Asian face among the police officers that were restraining Mr. Floyd, I metaphorically saw myself in the video and the parallels of my inaction that were causing harm to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Growing up as an Asian minority, I was taught by my parents that this is a white man’s world. I was told that in order to succeed in life I must keep my head down and work hard. All my life, I’ve done this without taking the time to consider how many things to which I was turning a blind eye. How many issues were ignored because I didn’t want to rock the boat?
While reading Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” last month, this quote stood out to me:
“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice…”
As I wrestle and grapple with what I’m called to do in these times as Christian, I can’t help but wonder what I have done in other times of history. Not too distant in American history, we had people going to church on a Sunday and a lynching on a Monday. If I was present during those times, would I have spoken up for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? What actions would I have taken? If I was in Germany during World War 2, would I take action and help those who were being oppressed and slaughtered?
I don’t have any answers to my questions yet, but I’m continually meditating and praying for God’s will and his kingdom. I’ll end with this prayer my wife shared with me:
A Prayer for True Justice
“Oh Heavenly Father, our hearts are heavy. Broken. Please give us eyes to see and ears to hear where Your Spirit is working. Help us to see every person the way that You see them. Break our hearts for what breaks Yours, God. Let us not merely say that we love each other. Give us strength to mourn with those who mourn, to weep with those who weep. Let Your justice roll like waters. Let your righteousness and love flow from us like rivers of living water. Purify our hearts, Lord and fill us with genuine hunger for justice, for mercy, and for true peace. Heavenly Father, let justice and mercy start with me.”
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.