We Need Jesus

My family loves to binge-watch old episodes of the TV show “Psych.” The family-friendly comedy is the story of two lifelong friends, Shawn and Gus, who decide to open a fake psychic detective agency.

In one episode, Gus is being tempted to cheat on his girlfriend by a sultry older woman. After one of her brazen attempts, Gus looks at her and deadpans: “You need Jesus.”

This last week, I sat in a meeting of the ethics board of our local newspaper. The discussion was dominated by the George Floyd story and the subsequent protests and riots. The question was: How could the newspaper responsibly report this national story and its implications on our local community?

We went around the room talking about what could be done in our community to heal the hurt, to right the wrongs and to bring our divided society together.

A former college president spoke about the importance of education in the process. A local law enforcement official spoke about how law enforcement agencies need to better recognize police officers who have become jaded after years of service. He talked about the benefits of citizens going on ride-alongs with local police. The newspaper staff talked about conducting town hall meetings and running a series of articles from the point of view of different segments of our community, offering suggested solutions to the problem.

And as they brainstormed, I heard Gus’ voice in my head.

“They need Jesus.”

We all do. The ills of our society today are the result of a heart problem. They are a spiritual problem. They are a sin problem. The roots of racism are pride and hate. The hearts of the rioters are overflowing with vengeful rage. The vitriol on social media is fueled by pharisaical feelings of superiority and stubborn refusal to listen to other people.

Education helps. Shining light on injustice helps. People standing up and speaking out helps. But what our world needs most – what our hearts need most – is Jesus.

Jesus is the cure for our heart disease. God so loved you, he sent his one and only Son to suffer the punishment for your pride and anger and racism. Jesus died for your delusions of superiority and your lack of listening. Jesus is the answer. In him, you are forgiven for even the ugliest and darkest attitudes hiding in the recesses of your heart.

But God didn’t so love only you. God so loved the world. God so loved George Floyd. God so loves Officer Chauvin. God so loves Donald Trump and Joe Biden. God so loves every police officer in our country – both good and bad. God so loves every person on this planet.

What they need is to know him. What they need is to know the forgiveness he has won for them. What they need is the love he works in our hearts even for our enemies.

With Jesus’ help, the racists can learn to love, the rioters can let go of their anger and we can all grow in the grace of speaking the truth in love.

May God help us as we continue to look for ways to heal the divides in our society, but, in the end, only one solution gets to the heart of the issue.

We need Jesus.

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