Trillia Newbell – We can’t move on from this

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, June 15th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Commentator Trillia Newbell now on the Biblical imperative to live peaceful, quiet lives, which you must not mistake for living in a manner that is indifferent to injustice.

This is important. Let’s listen.

TRILLIA NEWBELL, COMMENTATOR: Recently, I was reminded of one of my favorite verses in the Bible. 

The Apostle Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thess 4:11-12).  

There has been a necessary outcry in our nation over the murder of George Floyd. My concern is tragic situations and controversies have a way of igniting an uproar, and then we all move on. We can’t move on from this. Not if we want to see real change. 

Real change happens first by transformed hearts. We all must repent where we see racial bias, the sin of partiality, and any notion of superiority based on the color of our skin. Repentance must come first. 

But then we need to get to work. That brings me to that verse in 1 Thessalonians. We can’t maintain the same level of protesting that we’ve seen throughout the country. I believe non-violent, peaceful protests are historically effective means to bring about change, but they’re not sustainable long-term. 

At some point, all the noise will quiet down. But the problems in our country will remain. This is why I’m grateful for this reminder by our Lord for how to live. We can apply the words of Paul to our lives every day. 

For example, Tennessee pastor Jedidiah Coppenger recently wrote about George Floyd and racism and how we can practically be involved in change. Coppenger is a middle-aged, white male, serving and pastoring in one of the wealthiest counties in the country, just south of Nashville. The county is also predominantly white. He is doing what he can in relative obscurity and trying his best to live a faithful, quiet life. 

I believe the steps that he is taking, ones I know he was taking well before the tragic murder of George Floyd, are ones we can all apply. Here are a few practical things he highlights that we can do in the quiet of our lives that point to Jesus: 

Pursue racial justice prayerfully. Our pursuit of racial healing and unity cannot be done without prayer. 

Pursue racial justice relationally. We need relationships with those not like us—deep and meaningful relationships help in our pursuit of love and understanding. 

Pursue racial justice actively. Coppenger says, “You can’t do everything, but you can do something.” Amen. We can get involved in our local communities, volunteer, and donate. 

That work may look very different in each of our varying contexts. For some the work will be getting to know your neighbors, getting involved in your community, growing in your understanding of public policy, and volunteering. 

Whatever the work looks like in your area, my hope is that you and I won’t allow this time of uproar to be in vain. There’s work to do in order to see real change. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.

The noise will end but don’t let that fool you into believing that the work is done. In our quiet, private lives, now is when the real work begins. 

I’m Trillia Newbell.


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