Jeremiah 7:5-7 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave to your ancestors for ever and ever.
We all want a safe place to live. Nobody wants to go to the store in fear of some random stranger stalking you Nobody wants to lay down worrying whether or not someone will try to break in your house. One of the top needs of human beings everywhere is safety and security.
With all of the recent murders in our city people are feeling a bit uneasy. The police are overwhelmed and understaffed. The citizens are anxious about violence. We need some answers. The biggest question is what are we going to do about it?
The answer is that we have to be the change we want to see in our community. Jesus said, “You are the light on a hill. You are the salt of the earth. What good is a light hidden under a bush or salt that has lost its flavor.” We are the change we have been looking for.
God told the Prophet Jeremiah to tell the people to stop coming to the temple looking for false security. Ice Cube was wrong, “If you scared go to church!” Church is not where we hide it’s where we power up! After we leave the Power Center we have to go back in our communities to do something.
1. Change your ways and deal with each other justly. There is a personal reformation before there can be public transformation. We have turn our lives around in the right direction and treat each other the way we would want to be treated.
2. Do not oppress foreigners. God had to remind the Israelites how to treat people from other countries.
“You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.” As Africans brought to America as slaves we know what it was like to be mistreated as second-class citizens. Therefore we should not treat Mexicans unjustly in spite of what Donald Trump says.
3. Look out for the fatherless and the widows. James 1:27 New International Version (NIV)
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. In our context we should look out for single mothers, kids with absentee fathers, and senior citizens.
4. Do not shed innocent blood. From police officers shooting unarmed black men to black men shooting black men, we should stand up against violence. It starts with each of us deciding that we are going to respond non-violently. An eye for an eye mentality leaves us toothless and blind. We must learn how to resolve conflict nonviolently and teach our children how to respond with emotional intelligence.
5. Do not follow other gods to your harm. Whenever we put anything in the place of God it becomes our idol. It can be money, our jobs, our lovers, or even our children. God should be our top priority.
When we put all these things into practice, God’s promise is that we will live in peace and safety in our communities. Let’s do the work today so we can live in peace tomorrow.
Thank you for giving me the authority to take control over my community. I decree and declare that we will change our ways and treat each other justly. Transform our communities into a place of peace for all your people.
In Jesus Name,