Justice

forgiveness • peacemaking • reconciliation
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Justice

What Unites Us Is Greater Than What Divides Us

June 27, 2020 by

Heinrich Arnold: I’m here with my friend Jerome John. Mr. John works for the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office. He’s a colonel there, the superintendent of the jail. But more importantly, he’s a brother in Christ and pastors a church locally, the Roman Road Church.

Jerome John: Well, thanks for having me. I need to say that although I’m in uniform, I’m not speaking for the Sheriff’s Office. I’m speaking as a brother in Christ.

Heinrich Arnold: What should we as followers of Christ be doing, be thinking, be believing, be representing in our churches, in our neighborhoods, in our communities considering what has been going on in our country with the heightened awareness of racism, racial injustice, and police brutality? Would you have any reflections on that professionally, but also as an African American and as a believer?

Jerome John: As Christians, the Lord tells us let our light so shine before men that they would see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven. So we must constantly be cognizant of the fact that everything we do as believers reflects on our Lord and Savior in heaven. As a room gets darker the light that’s in it shines brighter and brighter. So this is a perfect opportunity for us to unite and speak out against injustice anywhere because, as Dr. King said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

And we must realize that we are all brothers. The Bible says, “From one blood did God make all nations” (Acts 17:26), and that life is sacred and we must respect that. There are a couple of scriptures I would like to share with you concerning what we should be doing right now, and concerning our mindset. The Bible says, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). We have to learn to look through the lens of love of Jesus Christ. So we should see things differently, a different hue in everything. We should see the sanctity of life in everybody: criminal, law-abiding citizen, rich, poor – it does not matter. Every person is made in the image of God and we must remember that all the time.

Romans says this, “Recompense no man evil for evil” (12:17). We must remember that. We speak about forgiveness and how difficult it is to do in the flesh. But as Philippians 4:13 tells us, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. In my own strength I will fail, and that’s why we have to turn to God. Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

We know Jesus told us to turn the other cheek. It’s a very difficult thing to do when people are so hostile and angry, but we have to be his hands, his voice, his feet, the peacemakers. That’s our opportunity and our responsibility as followers of Jesus Christ – to get out and show the world that there is an alternative to what we’ve been doing.

As I mentioned already, Romans says, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” So it is important that we see and think differently than what the world is teaching us. And again, he has made all people from one blood. We are all brothers and sisters, both believers and nonbelievers. And our responsibility is to get those who are nonbelievers into the fold by living a life that speaks to them.

interview

Heinrich Arnold: Do you believe that it is possible to live that way? No matter what our background is, whether we’re working in law enforcement, or we’re a businessman, or we don’t have any job. Is it possible to treat all people the same and have that faith?

Jerome John: Absolutely, because I truly believe that what unites us is infinitely greater than what divides us, and what unites us is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In him, there’s nothing that’s impossible. When Jesus was talking to the rich man and he went away, the disciples said, “How can anybody get to heaven?” And Jesus says, “With man it’s impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:16–26). So for us, it is the strength in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have the power of the Holy Spirit available to us to guide us, and lead us, and strengthen us.

Heinrich Arnold: Thank you, brother. We wish all of you out there courage to live a life of brotherhood that forgives wrong, that goes a second mile with those who have wronged us, and that brings people together in love and harmony.

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