by Rev. Benjamin Chung (鍾立恆牧師)
Last week’s pastor’s page is titled, “When Wrong is Right.” Wrong should never be right. In fact, it can’t be. A wrong can appear to be right, but the two are mutually exclusive. And when a wrong replaces what is right, an injustice has been done.
I’ve been more involved in the Racial Reconciliation conversation recently. I chose to grab a seat at the table when invited because I want to hear and listen to the cries of the Black ministers and pastors and what they have to say. I want to understand even more their point of view. They do not condone the violence of rioting and looting, but are addressing the grievous sin of slavery upon their ancestors and the derived racism that still persists today. I know it is a difficult conversation for us as Chinese-Americans or Asian-Americans to understand at times because we can only partially relate to the pain and hurt many Blacks feel. At the same time, by attending these meetings and taking a seat at the table, I too am able to speak out about the similar injustices that we see and experience in the Chinese community.
As believers, we need to come together in unity with a common voice and purpose. This means there needs to be conversation so that the message of our purpose is clear. Wrongs/injustices must be clearly defined, as much as what is right/just. This means that what is wrong must be exposed and acknowledged as wrong. I am speaking both of the greater Church and also down to the individual church/congregation. A wrong cannot be swept under the carpet or ignored because another wrong is more heinous in comparison. When we do this, we show that we do not clearly strive for justice and what is right but we are accepting of what is wrong because it is “less wrong” in comparison to another wrong.
Lord have mercy! We must always stand for what is right and be humble enough to acknowledge our own faults. Likewise, we must have the meekness to address our brother or sister who is also in sin. In turn, we must also be willing to listen and seek to understand if we are in sin (or even the appearance of sin) and whether a change is to be made in our lives. James, the brother of Jesus says this, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20). As Christ followers, our goal is for truth to reign supreme. This is a high bar that we are to attain to. That said, there needs to be both: grace and truth. If we say, “Why don’t you have grace for the wrong-doer?” and ignore truth, Christ is not glorified. Likewise, if we speak the truth without grace, Christ’s teaching is not followed. Let us hear and understand what is right. Let us also adhere to righteous ways and thus reveal the real nature of the Heavenly “Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), to all people. Amen.