The answer to America’s current divisions lies in the nation’s churches, with followers of Christ modeling the “qualities of the One we claim to follow,” former NFL coach and current television commentator Tony Dungy says.
Dungy made the comments on Twitter Friday, saying he had been thinking and praying “about how I should respond” as he “watched the events in Minneapolis unfold.”
“Today we are a divided country,” Dungy wrote. “We’re divided racially, politically, and socio-economically. And Satan is laughing at us because that is exactly what he wants. Dysfunction, mistrust, and hatred help his kingdom flourish.
“Well, what is the answer then?” Dungy asked. “I believe it has to start with those of us who claim to be Christians. We have to come to the forefront and demonstrate the qualities of the One we claim to follow, Jesus Christ. We can’t be silent. As Dr. King said many years ago, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!’ But we can’t go forward with judgmental, bitter, spirits. We need to be proactive, but do it in the spirit of trying to help make things better. And it can’t be just the African American churches. It has to be ALL churches taking a stand and saying ‘We are going to be on the forefront of meaningful dialogue and meaningful change.’ We have to be willing to speak the truth in love but we have to recognize that we are not fighting against other people. We are fighting against Satan and his kingdom of spiritual darkness.”
“In the words of the Apostle Paul, ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ Romans 12:21 NIV.”
Dungy, the first black head coach to win a Super Bowl, said on Sunday he and his wife, Lauren, rode through their hometown of Tampa the previous night as protests were taking place. He called it an “emotional ride.”
“We saw many people out protesting and trying to make their feelings heard,” he wrote on Twitter. “Most of it was peaceful but some was not. We saw a lot of hurting people. We saw a lot of angry people.
“We prayed for our country as we rode. Prayed that people who are hurting can direct their passion in [a] safe and productive way. And we prayed that our country can listen to people who are hurting and have concerns BEFORE they feel they have to lash out in anger to be heard. America we can solve this but it’s going to take all of us, WORKING TOGETHER, to do it.”
Last night was a very tough night in America. We need something to bring us together. We need empathy. We need to listen. And we need to care about each other. Even those we might disagree with. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) May 31, 2020
Romans 12:21 NIV pic.twitter.com/qduqDP2H0k
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Mitchell Leff/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.