But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jer. 29:7)
I have tremendous grief about what’s happening in our communities. I’m talking about people who are needlessly and unfairly shot. I’m talking about citizens who don’t deserve to die. I’m talking about police who are targeted.
When I first heard the phrase “black lives matter,” I was confused and wanted to shout, “all lives matter.” After some conversations with some black friends, I realized I was missing the point. The “black lives matter” movement isn’t saying that black lives matter more than white, brown, or yellow lives. This movement is crying out for more fairness, more safety, more justice. Is that a request our country needs to hear? Can anyone justify that it isn’t?
Jeremiah commands the Jewish people to pray for the city to which they have been exiled. He gives this command because they were tempted to condemn or renounce the city. Jeremiah said that when they pray for the welfare of the city they will also be praying and working for their own welfare.
We’re, right now, an exiled nation. We’re an exiled nation because we’re separated from God’s desire for us to be sisters and brothers together. We are all God’s beloved children. Jesus came to save all. How can we allow the color of our skin to divide us? We all have the same dreams, hopes, desires, and worries. We all need the same chances, support, protection, and opportunities.
Jeremiah’s words to the Jews in 586 B.C. are words we need to hear today. We need to pray for our communities. We need to work for justice and fairness. We need to be truly One Nation Under God. We need to recognize that none of us are truly free until all are free; that none of us are truly safe until all are safe; that we aren’t living into God’s desires when any race stands above or below any other race.
I know I’m not alone in my grief for what’s happening in our country right now. I encourage us to pray for the welfare of our communities and for the welfare of all people. Their welfare is our welfare.
- Because all lives matter to God, all lives must matter to us. Do all lives, in fact, matter equally to you? If not, are you willing to ask God to enlarge your heart until they do?
- God wants us to pray and work for the welfare of our communities. If you are already doing so, bless you. But if you aren’t, how might God be calling you to do so?
- We honor God when we pray and work for justice, fairness, and equal opportunity for all. We dishonor God when we don’t. Do you need to change any of your thinking, acting, speaking, and believing so that you will be honoring God by honoring all of His children?
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