I went to bed with a heavy heart two nights ago. I woke up wishing that it was just a nightmare. But it wasn’t. I couldn’t un-see what I saw. Alton Sterling, a man created in the image of God, was killed. Another black man reduced to a hashtag.
On days like these, we cry because we feel the weight of what the Bible tells us is true: In this broken world, marred by sin and death, things are not the way they are supposed to be.
We also cry, because we are longing for Jesus to come back to renew and restore all things like he promised:
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” — Revelation 21:3–5
While we wait for that day, we experience the pain of today. How do we, the church, the family of God, need to respond today?
“…weep with those who weep.” — Romans 12:15
That’s the invitation from the Apostle Paul to us. If you are wondering how you should respond to the shooting of Alton Sterling, there is your answer. When you weep with someone, you identify with them in their pain. It is humanizing in the face of the dehumanizing pain of grief. It somehow makes the grief less lonely, though not less painful.
There will be other days for critique and disagreements, fact-seeking and fault-finding. But can you do me a favor today and just weep with me? Weep with us. Weep with that man’s family. Weep with Baton Rouge.
We can and should work for justice. But what we need today is prophetic lament. Cry out against the murder of another image-bearer. Cry out against the injustice. Cry out to the Lord for healing, help, and hope.
Until Jesus wipes our tears from our eyes forever, will you weep with me?