As we look around our country, we are encountering pain, loss, confusion, and sadness. My friend and president of the Colson Center, John Stonestreet, has written some helpful words for us during this time and wanted to share them with you:

“We wake up this day as a nation wishing the events of last week didn’t actually happen—the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, of Philando Castile in Minnesota, and five police officers, still unnamed as I write this, in Dallas. A demonically insidious string of events, hitting our nation like a series of pounding waves.

The endless articles, tweets, blog postings, and conversations reveal just how bewildered we are. Honestly, it reminds me of mentally trying to muddle through the events of 9-11. Only, this is different. Not worse, just different. On 9-11, we were reeling from an outside attack. Today, we reel from a brokenness within.

While confirmation bias tempts us to retreat to our pet causes, explanations, and scapegoats, we’d be wiser to listen to the tweeted words of Florida Pastor H.B. Charles, “The Bible exhorts us to weep with those who weep. It doesn’t tell us to judge whether they should be weeping.” In particular, two communities in our midst weep: African-Americans and law enforcement officials. We can and ought to be distressed by the brokenness on both sides.

Let us first and unequivocally say every human life is precious and valuable because it bears the very image of God. C.S. Lewis wrote in The Weight of Glory, “You’ve never met a mere mortal… Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit.”

Let’s also say that the week’s events are a surface explosion of issues long present in our society. As my friend Pastor Chris Brooks said to me Friday, those asking “where did this come from?” reveal they’ve not been watching or listening. Alexander Solzhenitsyn saw it back in 1978, when he remarked (in a speech fittingly called “A World Split Apart”) the smooth surface film of our society was thin indeed, with only illusions of stability and health.

We’re not okay, folks, and we haven’t been in quite a while. These horrible events are not creating unrest; rather they are revealing it. Our society is weak in its middle—at the “social glue” level of local communities and civil society. And, we have a race problem. We might disagree on why, but it won’t do us any good to say it doesn’t exist. Here we are – and there’s no way out of this except by confronting it.

Third, and most important, Read the rest of John Stonestreet’s commentary at the Colson Center

Another helpful article is, What Shootings and Racial Justice Mean for the Body of Christ by Russell Moore