“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12
Here at First15, it is our sincere desire to help believers grow in their personal relationship with God every day. But we also recognize that we are part of a community of diverse believers from all over the world, each uniquely made, and each with unique stories, hurts, and challenges. Our team at First15 has been grieving over the past few weeks as we’ve witnessed the painful consequences of prolonged racial division in our country. The pain we see our brothers and sisters of color expressing is heartbreaking, and we know that when one of us hurts, we all hurt.
Yet even in the midst of this pain, we believe that God is working towards reconciliation in ways seen and unseen, and we want to encourage everyone to embark on the hard work of reconciliation together.
We believe that examining our inner selves is an important place to begin.
Let’s start with an internal examination before the eyes of our gracious, all-seeing God. May we echo the prayer of David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me,” asking that the eyes of our hearts be enlightened (Eph 1:18). It begins with quieting ourselves and listening. It begins with giving space to consider the voices of those who are hurting and crying out. It begins with mourning with those who mourn, and weeping with those who weep. Would you take a few moments with us today to find quiet, to listen, and to let God cleanse your heart?
We recognize that we are by no means experts on this subject of racial reconciliation, and so we’d like to recommend the following resources to anyone looking to dive further into this work and learn from trusted voices. We are praying that God will not only continue to draw us closer to himself as individuals, but as a community of those that walk in love and humility with one another.
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Helpful resources we recommend:
–Be the Bridge, Latasha Morrison
–One in Christ, David Ireland
–Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson
–Divided by Faith, Michael O. Emerson
Denison Ministries Resources:
–What does the Bible say about racism?, Dr. Jim Denison