Reflecting God’s Grace in an Unjust World

by Johnathan Powell on May 12, 2020

Being a Black man in America carries with it unique experiences. I live in a predominantly white area of the city so for me, it means constantly checking.

I have to check to make sure my hands aren’t in my pockets at the store because that may come across like I'm attempting to steal something. I have to check to make sure I’m smiling with a pleasant disposition because to some my appearance would automatically make me seem hostile. When driving in certain areas it means to make sure I’m going not even one mile over the speed limit so I won't get pulled over because the officer just wanted to “slow me down a little” like the last time. To some, these feelings may seem like an overreaction but then we see headlines like that of Ahmaud Arbery and suddenly perspectives start to change a bit.

We lament the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Though there is still much investigation to be done, everything seen so far paints an incredibly disturbing picture of an unarmed black man being shot while jogging. Moments like this make us yearn for true justice as opposed to one that’s unequally applied to people of color. It’s in moments like this that the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes more relevant than ever before.

You see, injustice is just one of many tools of the Devil and it has plagued humanity since the beginning of time. It is a disease with only one remedy, grace.

It’s a grace that is supernatural and requires far more than what a human heart alone can supply. 

It’s the grace that Civil Rights protesters showed when they were beaten, spit on, and sprayed with fire hoses. 

It’s the grace that Corrie ten Boom showed when she prayed that God would give her His forgiveness for the Nazis that imprisoned her in the Ravensbrück Internment Camp. 

It’s the grace that Nadine Collier showed to the man who killed her aunt and eight others in the Charleston Church shooting by exclaiming “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”

It’s the grace that Christ showed when he bore the wrath of all of our sins on a cross.

This kind of grace is revolutionary and it changes the atmosphere. It’s not a grace that ignores wrongdoing or refuses to seek justice. However, it’s a grace that ultimately points even the most heinous of perpetrators back to the One who loved them first. It’s quite frankly a grace I need to show more of when I see and feel stings of racism in my own life.

So rest in peace Ahmaud Arbery. I’m praying for justice on this side of heaven and clinging to the promise of true justice thereafter.

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