Another acquittal after an African-American was wrongfully shot and killed.
I know emotions run high and most people want to take sides with everything that is politically charged in recent years. But let’s just do an honest assessment. An innocent man was killed, right in front of his little girl, without accountability. It’s horrible. There is something in all of us that has to say, “This is wrong.”
The fact that it further divides liberals and conservatives and whites and blacks is more saddening. When there is an obvious act of injustice, it ought to unify us. All of us should come together in agreement on the injustice for this man and his family. We should be united in our grief, and outrage.
But that will never be the way of the world without Christ. Division, finger-pointing, animosity, tribalism, all leading to fights, murder and warfare, is the natural state of human relations without God. Our separation from our Creator has led to division among us as a race. And so people exploit and abuse, blame and justify, attack and defend. The problem with our horizontal relationships is really a problem with our vertical relationship.
The teaching of Scripture is clear, that while we should work for justice and relieve suffering wherever we can, all of that will be a reality in this world until Jesus returns. The officer who was stabbed in Flint this last week, that will happen again. There will be more unjustified shootings. Many more of our young men will be killed in the inner cities. You won’t be able to stop all the evil that is going on around the world.
But you can make an impact in your family, your neighborhood, and your workplace. You can love your neighbor, treat your coworker fairly, and forgive your family members. While you are not personally responsible for what happened in Minnesota, you are responsible for loving, treating others fairly, and forgiving those who wrong you.
In Christ, in the Church, the world has got to see something altogether different. And the difference they see in us and the world around them will be what draws them to the Christ who has made that difference.
I spoke to an African-American brother on the phone yesterday. He had an entirely different take that stunned me initially, and then became a breath of fresh air that the world needs to breathe. He said, “What if God was asking me to love the officer who shot Philando? What if his family were to show up at my church and want to come in? Would they be welcome in my row?” He then answered his own question. “Actually, that is what God has called me to do. We’re different in the church. This is where we love people unconditionally and the place we come together.”