Freedom Reigns

Long before social injustice was a common, household phrase, it was my reality. It didn’t have a name or movement attached to it, but it existed. In the neighborhood I came from, harassment and police brutality were, sad to say, normal.

When I was 16 years old, walking from my house to my older brother’s, I was stopped by the police, thrown up against a fence, legs spread and frisked, then made to sit on the ground, because I fit the description of someone who had stolen something. In my early 20’s, I was the passenger in a car that had been rear ended, I am the one who called the police to report the accident. Again I ended up face first on the ground, and bleeding. I was brought to the emergency room and then to jail for the night. Whether I did right or wrong, I was wrong, I was guilty, I was at fault. I don’t have the words to describe what that feels like. It was undignified, humiliating, and infuriating. It was bondage.

Today I write to you, as man set free. My identity is found in who God says I am. My value is measured by what He gave to free me, He gave everything. He gave His own son. God’s word is the one thing that will remain.

John 8:36 says, “Therefore if the son sets you free you shall be free indeed.”

Galatians 5:13 says, “You brothers, have been called to liberty. Only do not use liberty to give an opportunity the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

1 Peter 2:16 says, “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but live as servants of God. Honor people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the King.“

Let us respect the absolute authority of God’s word and use our liberty to bring peace, hope and healing to the world rather than anger, chaos and harm.

In loving memory and in the words of George Floyd, speaking to the youth in his community, “Come home, please come home to God.” I say come home and find hope in Jesus Christ, to the glory of God.

-Pastor Justin Barros