Riots recently broke out in Baltimore, MD, after the funeral of Freddie Gray, an African American man who died in police custody. Local pastors and social workers went to the streets to call for peaceful protests. They conceded that injustice existed in the city, but insisted that violence was not the way to protest it—not looting, burning, or throwing rocks at police. The actions by these pastors remind one of what King Jehoshaphat did long ago in ancient Israel. He was concerned about the lawless behavior of people as well as their judges. We read this in 2 Chronicles chapter 19: “Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, but he went out among the people, traveling all over the country urging people to return to the LORD, the God of their ancestors. He appointed judges throughout the nation in all the fortified towns, and he said to them, ‘Always think carefully before pronouncing judgment. Remember that you do not judge to please people but to please the LORD. He will be with you when you render the verdict in each case. Fear the LORD and judge with integrity, for the LORD our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.’” Proverbs 15:3 reminds us that “The LORD is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.” Then and now, God searches throughout the land, looking for people to live by His righteous standards. We, God’s people, must show the way.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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