Friday, July 08, 2016

Daily Devotional - Reconciliation, Not Retaliation

Isaiah 59:9      So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. (NIV)

            We all woke up with heavy hearts this morning when news of the sniper killings from Dallas-Fort Worth became apparent. For the past two weeks, a darkness has overshadowed our land and violence is plaguing our people. The tragic deaths of both civilians and police officers is appalling and wicked. We seem to have reached another depth of human despair; we appear to have hit a confusing time of fear and insecurity.

            We can do better than this, but it will take a great deal of effort and energy. We can overcome these deep shadows and find a brightness which will embrace and empower our children. We have to fight against our fears and avoid retaliation. Our response to the injustice must be a search for truth. Our solution to the violence must be found in reconciliation.

            We are different, but those differences need not divide or destroy us. We have common goals and similar dreams for our children. We want our towns and cities, communities and neighborhoods to be places of peace, prosperity, and purpose. We want our schools to be filled with students who seek knowledge to build a better future, a brighter hope, and a peace-loving world.

            As Christian people, we follow a Savior who was both killed by the police authorities and the prejudicial mob. His words on the Cross emphasized the importance of reconciliation: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” If we are ever going to get out of this stagnant pit of evil and violence, then it begins with seeking forgiveness over fear, sincerely addressing racism and prejudice, as well as pursuing reconciliation instead of retaliation.

            May God have mercy on our people and nation.

Questions for personal reflection

How can I be a channel of peace and reconciliation in my home and community? How can my church actively seek and promote the same?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, we really don’t know what to pray for at this painful time. We hail You as the Prince of peace and Healer of the world. In the midst of our broken hopes and shattered dreams, show us the path toward reconciliation and love. In Your Holy Name, we plaintively pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to ask questions or make comments about today’s devotion, please send him an email to

Today’s image is one of John’s past drawings called “Face to Face.” It artistically represents the need for real and intimate dialogue between all races. If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Face to Face.

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