愛恩教會在愛裡的回應
Our Response in Love

愛恩教會在愛裡的回應

親愛的弟兄姊妹們,主裡平安!

先跟大家誠懇的致歉,這封信讓您久等了!

近期因美國接連發生的種族社會事件,我們真心感到難過。 引發了社會的震盪,也引發了我們教會部分肢體間,因看法不同而產生風波,甚至造成一些負面衝擊,讓部分的弟兄姊妹心情或沈重、或困惑、或憤怒,對此我們深表遺憾。若您覺得教會有任何處理不當的,甚至對您或您家人造成傷害的,我們先在此誠摯地致歉。

上帝是愛惜生命的,因我們知道耶穌為我們每個人的罪而死。在我們信仰中,相信人人平等,不同意種族歧視的偏見或行為,也反對任何的不公義,或濫用公權力的行為。我們也特別為喪失的生命感到哀痛,與哀哭的人同哭。上帝在舊約和新約也一貫地關心被壓迫和受欺壓的人,因此我們也應在可能的情況下盡量關心並捍衛被壓迫或受到歧視的人。

許多弟兄姊妹也在尋問教會如何看待這些事? 然而在這場悲劇中,我們的目的不是發表
《聲明》或給出《行動方案》,因為這對我們的情緒不一定有幫助。且我們承認我們智慧不足,特別這些事件在媒體、輿論的討論下,以及許多團體的後續動作,已從社會公義或道德問題,演變成政治議題。

雖然事件變為敏感、複雜,但不代表我們不在乎。 身為教會的牧者與長老,我們的呼召是牧養群羊,因此我們希望和你們一起走過,並與你們一起反思,一起自省,一起討論。
我們的願望不是「給出標準答案」,而是裝備大家如何用信仰架構來審視問題,如何用聖經以及愛心的原則來處理情緒、聆聽聲音、彼此溝通、甚至考慮可能採取的個人(或集體)的行動。教會所有牧者長老也願謙卑與大家一起繼續思考、討論,未來如何在這方面更多教導會友,並以聖經為原則採取合適的行動。

以下是幾點建議,先供大家參考:

確實放在禱告裡
這聽起來好像是「空談」。然而,不論種族、黨派、觀念,我們都是上帝所造的 (使徒行傳 17:26a他從一本造出萬族的人,住在全地上),所以我們的身份不是亞裔、非裔、歐裔、西裔、原住民…,而是神國度裡子民,都是亞當的後裔。因此,禱告非常重要!禱告不代表不可以有行動,而是讓上帝管理我們的悲傷、憤怒、與無力感;也讓我們的價值觀、思想、行動,是被聖靈來掌管,而不是憑著我們的血氣。 藉著花時間在主的施恩座前,讓我們貼近上帝的心意。

但以理書 6:10 「但以理知道這禁令蓋了玉璽,就到自己家裡(他樓上的窗戶開向耶路撒冷),一日三次雙膝跪在他神面前禱告感謝,與素常一樣。」

傾聽、同理、學習
我們畢竟不是上帝,無法看到全部的真相,也沒有全部的真理,更不一定能想出萬全的方案。這段時間更多以同理心傾聽,先放下自己的想法,多聽多看不同的觀點,繼續與人對話,在心中反覆思量,特別去瞭解為何別人會有這樣的想法,是什麼歷史、環境所造成的?華人自古說:兼聽則明,偏信則暗。 尤其遇到與您看法不同時,不以敵人待之,要如聖經雅各書所說的:快快的聽,慢慢的說,慢慢的動怒 (1:19)。

羅馬書 12:15「與喜樂的人要同樂;與哀哭的人要同哭。」

作和平之子
不論是小組聚會、私下交談、或網路,不輕易動怒,保持應有的禮貌與尊重,也不論斷人,把論斷的事交給上帝。我們彼此扶持,彼此相愛,記得我們因我們的主,相同的地方其實比不同之處多得多!

我們要作和平之子。 然而,我們也不是處於旁觀者心態,或是一味壓抑隱藏問題不處理,這樣的「和平」,不是真正神所說的「和平」。

上帝「藉著基督使我們與他和好,又將勸人與他和好的職分賜給我們。」( 哥林多後書5:18)。從神來的和平使我們有義務將神的和平帶給他人。在馬太福音5章中,我們被告知:「使人和睦的人有福了!因為他們必稱為神的兒子。」所以和平之子是叫我們成為使人和平的人,而不是維持表面和平的人。
維持和平意味著現有的一切都是好的,我們要去維持這種現狀。然而,我們看到目前發生的許多事情是不好的,是罪與不公義的結果,或是情緒與衝動的血氣,神的子民中有很多在被傷害且在哭泣。因著這樣的破碎,基督徒被呼召在所屬不同的環境中參與並成為使人與人,以及人與神和平的人。求主幫助我們在言語行為愛心信心上,都有好的見證,能反應出真理,也能表現耶穌在十架上的愛、恩典、與憐憫。

羅馬書 12:16, 18b「要彼此同心;不要志氣高大,倒要俯就卑微的人。不要自以為聰明。…總要盡力與眾人和睦。」

最後,我們知道這封信,無法解決或回答您所有的問題。但我們仍要感謝神,相信 祂有豐盛的慈愛與恩典,必能繼續帶領我們克服一切困難與軟弱,並吸引我們來歸向祂。
也藉此籲請,在這段時期,以溫柔愛心彼此對話,若您心靈上有任何需要交通、澄清、詢問、指引、安慰或代禱的,都歡迎您藉由電話,電子郵件或其他適合方式跟本會教牧團隊或相關長老們直接聯繫,我們將盡力彼此扶持,繼續前行。

愛恩台福基督教會全體牧者與長老團隊    敬上
06/18/20

「應當稱謝耶和華;因他本為善,他的慈愛永遠長存!」(歷代志上16:34)

「恨能挑啟爭端;愛能遮掩一切過錯。」(箴言10:12)

*All verses are NIV, 和合本.
**本信有參考西雅圖證道堂給會眾的信 Evangelical Chinese Church of Seattle’s letter to
congregations were used as a reference.

Our Response in Love

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Peace be with you all. First of all, we would like to sincerely apologize that some of you have been waiting a long time for this letter.

As a community, we have watched the unfolding race related events in America with broken hearts. These incidents have not only shaken society at large but also led to friction, and even conflict, between members of our own church with differing views. Right now, some of our Brothers and Sisters are confused, upset, or even angry, and our hearts ache to see these negative emotions within the body of Christ. To the extent our church and our handling of the situation have hurt you or your family, please accept our deepest apology.

God values life, and we know Jesus died for everyone’s sins. Christianity teaches us that all men and women are created equal. Therefore, as Christians, we oppose all forms of racism, injustice, and abuse of power. We also weep with those who weep, especially those who have lost loved ones during this time. God, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, stands with the oppressed and the marginalized; therefore, we should also care about and defend, where we can, those who are disenfranchised and discriminated against.

Unfortunately, the injection of politics has transformed a once straightforward social justice or moral issue into a complicated political debate. Although these incidents have become increasingly complex and sensitive, it does not mean we do not care. As Pastors & Elders, we are called to shepherd our flock; therefore, we hope to journey forward with all of you during these troubled times, to engage in more thinking, self-examination, and discussion. Our desire is not to dictate our members’ opinions or “give a standard answer” but to equip you with a framework of faith by which to think critically, guided by the principles of the Bible and God’s love, to process feelings, listen with empathy, converse with one another, and possibly consider some personal or collective action.

Below is some guidance for you to consider:

Really Pray About It
This may sound like an “empty statement.” Although we may differ in race, politics, or values, we are all created by God (Acts 17:26a “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth”), therefore, our identity is not just Asian American, African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Native American, etc. Instead, we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, and our identity is a Kingdom citizen. Therefore, this is a profound Truth in life: Prayers are important!

Let God minister to your anger, sadness, and frustration. Prayer is not inaction. Rather, let prayer be the first step that leads you into God-given actions. Let prayer align your values, will, and actions to those of God. Ask God to help you think, speak, engage, and act in His love and will, instead of your own flesh.

Daniel 6:10 says “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”

Listen, Empathize, and Learn
We are not God. We do not see all facets of facts, nor do we have the whole truth, much less the ability to take perfect action. Being willing to put aside our own ideology allows us to listen with empathy, explore different viewpoints, and continue to have dialogue with different people. Try to understand others’ perspectives along with the historical background and circumstances which shape their worldview. When others have different opinion, let’s not automatically see them as our enemies. James in the Bible said it perfectly, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19)

In all settings, including small group discussions, private conversations, or on the internet, be slow to anger, polite, courteous, and respectful. Do not judge; leave the work of judging to God. We care about, love, and support each other; let’s remember we have a lot more similarities in God than differences.

Romans 12:15 says “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

Be Peacemakers
In the Beatitudes we are told “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). God tells us to be peacemakers; however, that does not mean we can have a bystander mentality or sweep things under the rug, as this is not the true “peace” God is talking about.

We are called to be peacemakers and not peacekeepers. Peacekeeping implies that things are good and we are to maintain the status quo. However, we see presently many things are NOT good for many people. Some of these problems are the results of sin and injustice, some are results of human flesh and emotions. There are parts of God’s body that are hurting and crying out. It is in this brokenness that Christians are called to enter and become peacemakers. Each of
us will be stepping into our own different spaces and spheres of influence to bring this reconciling peace to people around us. We pray for God to help us to provide good testimony through our words as well as our actions, as we reflect Truth, and the Love, Mercy and Grace our Lord Jesus showed us on the Cross.

Romans 12:16, 18 says “Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. . . . If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Lastly, we know that this letter may not address all of your questions. Please know that the Pastors and Elders of our church are willing to continue to dialogue with all of you with humility, so that in the future we can provide further teaching on issues like this and come up with Biblical-based action items. We give thanks to God and trust that He and His consuming love will continue to overcome, create unity, and draw people to Himself.

From our hearts, we desire everyone to know that if any of you need comfort, encouragement, guidance, or prayer, we are always here for you. You can reach out to any EFCI Pastor or Elder via phone call, e-mail, or any other avenue.
Sincerely Yours,
EFCI Pastoral Office & Elder Board
06/18/20

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (I Chronicles 16:34)

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” (Proverbs 10:12)

*All verses are NIV.
**Evangelical Chinese Church of Seattle’s letter to
congregations were used as a reference.