Editor’s Note: Over the last two weeks, we are featuring several messages from Cornerstone University’s undergrad chapel, which engage the topics of justice, race, reconciliation and love (listen to all CU chapel messages here). Today’s message is by Trillia Newbell, Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention. With each message, we’ve provided a “Talking Points Takeaway” as a point of reflection as we prepare for the April 26 Talking Points conference on Justice + Unity: Toward the Healing of a Fractured Church. Register today to attend the conference.
Talking Points Takeaway: Radical love—love that sacrifices and longs for the good of others—is the foundation for bringing about justice and unity.
In her message, Trillia Newbell emphasized that love is the foundation in our journey toward justice and unity. To the extent that we long for the good of our neighbor, are patient toward them, listen well, sacrifice our comfort, and the like, we can be agents in the progression toward justice and unity. Unity comes because love precedes it. Reconciliation comes because love precedes it. And even more foundational than love for neighbor, Newbell highlights, is our love for God.
It’s our love for God— and God’s love for humanity—that allows us to think and act differently toward our neighbors. God has adopted all of us into his family; our adoption transforms our hearts to treat one another as brothers and sisters. The Lord, through his affirmation of us as sons and daughters, gives us motivation to care deeply about all those within the body of Christ but also everyone made in his image. Our love for God allows us to see everyone as God sees them. This allows us to embrace humility and compassion, for example, when certain things happen in our nation that are upsetting to some. It allows us to mourn with those who mourn. It allows us to put on the skin of others and understand what it’s like to experience the world with the background of their experiences.
Newbell points out that our sin actually unites us as well—“Jesus did not discriminate in his redemption.” Each of us, no matter what race, are fallen and need saving. All people are the object of Christ’s redemptive work. So we can join together in God’s multi-ethnic and multi-cultural mission. This is why Newbell’s call to resist apathy comes so strongly. This is not an optional pursuit; this is God’s mission. We must resist apathy, she articulates, by growing in humility, confessing our sin, growing out of ignorance and adopting a caring posture toward all those created in God’s image.
Listen to the whole sermon here.