It was good to hear President Obama quote from Ezekiel 11:19 during the memorial service for the slain Dallas police officers. He was expressing the hope that the people of this country can come together and put aside past hurts and prejudice to resolve our problems. I share this hope. It is helpful to look at the larger context for this verse.
The prophet Ezekiel is speaking to Israel.
Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And when they come there, they will remove from it all the detestable things and all its abominations. Ezekiel 11:17-18
God is our redeemer and healer. We need to turn to God for help. We cannot solve the problems of this age on our own.
And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds on their own heads, declares the Lord God. Ezekiel 11: 19-21
Repentance. We need repentance. We need to see where we have strayed from God’s precepts and direction for living. We are self-centered by nature, yet God asks us to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is easy to carry a grudge, but Jesus instructs us to forgive as we have been forgiven. Life is a precious gift given by God—do we honor all life in word and deed? It has to begin within the Church. It has to begin with me.
Search me and try me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:16
Show me my prejudice and my lack of love. Forgive my sins, and tenderize my heart towards the hurting. Be at work in my life so that I can be an agent of healing.