Why We Have Reason to Hope for Reconciliation

Excerpted From
Welcoming Justice
By John Perkins and Charles Marsh

Our country claims to “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Chief among these rights is life, but these days we are asking a lot of questions about life: What are lives really worth? And whose lives matter? On some days it seems that we, as a people, are practicing genocide. Black people are killing each other one by one with handguns. White folks are going into schools and theaters and concerts and killing white folks en masse. We are on a suicide mission. We have run out of human dignity.

But I think there is hope. And I think that hope is waiting for us right where it’s always been—in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am hopeful because all reconciliation begins with the recognition of brokenness, and we see the evidence of our brokenness laid bare in our news and communities every day.

I am hopeful because I sense the presence and empowerment of the Holy Spirit in the movements of young people who are striving to follow the Great Commission into the world, preaching the gospel to every ethnic group. They are taking to heart Paul’s words in Galatians when he speaks of our oneness: “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:28).

I am hopeful because we are living in a Pentecostal moment, when God is ready to pour out the Holy Spirit on all people, to empower those who are willing to be a part of something courageous, something that’s worth giving our lives for. Paul said, “I die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31) because he knew you have to live every day like you’re willing to die for what is right.

A program alone won’t solve our problems. New laws and more humane public policy will not solve our problems. We need what we already have: “Good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).

We have grace, justification, and full redemption, and because of those gifts of God in Christ Jesus, we can find in ourselves the forgiveness, love, and welcome that we need to offer each other. Jesus told his friends that people would know they were his disciples if they loved one another (John 13:35). Our love is our witness. Love is the final fight.

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Taken from Welcoming Justice by Charles Marsh and John M. Perkins. Copyright (c) 2018 by Charles Marsh and John M. Perkins. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. IVPress.com

John Perkins and Charles Marsh
John Perkins and Charles Marsh

John Perkins is founder of Voice of Calvary Ministries, Harambee Ministries and the Christian community Development Association.

Charles Marsh is director of the Project on Lived Theology and a professor at the University of Virginia.