“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31
The recent violence in Charlottesville, VA, serves as a stark reminder we’d rather not face: sin is real, and deadly. Dr. Adam Carrington says it’s important to recognize the ugliness of this racially-motivated violence, not only because of the implications for our present society, but also as citizens of an eternal and global Kingdom.
“It’s very tragic that the vitriol was there to begin with but that one of the men protesting the removal of the Confederate statues in Charlottesville actually took violence into his own hands, killing at least one person–that absolutely is reprehensible.”
“I think it should be reprehensible to us both as Americans and Christians. We could talk about what a travesty it is, and what a destruction of what it means for the country, and what it means for those of us who are believers in the Gospel.”
While much of the conversation centers on political causes and ramifications of the Charlottesville violence, Dr. Carrington says that’s only one layer of the discussion; it’s time to dig deeper into the root of the problem.
“There are ways of talking about the attack as Americans: this is against the Declaration of Independence, our founding document, that talks about all men being created equal, all deserving protection, all deserving the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.”
“The tragedy of this violence is that it shows something that Christianity knows. We don’t have a knowledge problem of what’s just and unjust, or how we should treat others, or that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. We have a will problem, a sin problem.”
“I think this kind of hatred is what happens when people delve deeply into idols of race and politics. When race becomes your idol, you exchange the glory of God for that. As someone who studies politics, this has deep political ramifications. When race becomes your god, and then you start acting on your god, you start worshiping your god in the political sphere. It looks very different than worshiping the God of Christianity.”
Hatred, racism, and brutality are poisoned fruit from a heart held captive by sin and death. However, there is hope: God is love and He’s in the business of creating new hearts (Ezekiel 11:19). He also holds perfect justice in His hands.
“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“’I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord.”
“Instead, If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”
“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” Romans 12:17-21
Dr. Adam Carrington is an Assistant Professor of Politics at Hillsdale College. His focus includes the history of political philosophy, Constitutional law, and American political thought; he seeks to help students encounter great thinkers and ideas directly, to interact with them and with one another in a respectful but analytical fashion.