Can you remember an event in which “faith in Jesus Christ” has been more clearly credited with the power to overcome evil than what you’ve seen from Christians living through the Charleston murders?
I know I can’t.
The kind of evil that shoots people in cold blood after you’ve sat with them in a prayer meeting…how on earth can that evil be met with love and forgiveness? It’s impossible by human effort.
For once, we know we are watching something where the only explanation is faith in Jesus Christ. The relatives of the slain looked into the face of their loved one’s killer ….and voiced forgiveness that came from the power of the cross of Christ.
Perhaps Michael Wear, who headed Obama’s faith outreach efforts, said it best:
The confounding forgiveness given voice at the bail hearing, the radical love contained in the statements, was not cultural, sociological or political, it was theological. It was about Jesus Christ. They did not forgive to express the values of their race or to represent the character of their country, but to be faithful to their God.
Their example has set me to thinking.
I suspect that there are one or two examples in your life–as there are in mine–where if push came to shove, you’d admit that only God has been enough.
Enough to make you apologize even when it hurt your pride.
Enough to deliver you from an addiction.
Enough to let you love someone who doesn’t love you.
Enough to show up day after day in a job you don’t like.
Enough to carry you through grief to a new chapter in your life.
When I think of following my mother through the last five years of alcoholism I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I could not have done that in my own strength. I just don’t have it in me.
Perhaps these little victories (little by comparison) are more important than we think. I am taking notes from these amazing Christians in Charleston. Maybe it’s time to put words and voices to the “only by the grace of God” places in our lives.
As the old hymn says,
May the word of God dwell richly in my heart from hour to hour
So that all may see I triumph only by His power.
What do you do that you know you could not do … Except by the power of Christ in you?