I don’t know what happened between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson on August 9.
Neither do you.
All either of us think we know is based on what we’ve seen or heard or read in the media (which in my humble opinion, seems to want to stir division & enflame passion so they have something to cover 24/7 – in the words of one of my African-American pastor friends, “they tend to create the news more than cover it” – but I digress)
Because I don’t know what happened, I can’t know if last night’s decision by the Grand Jury was a travesty of justice or an example of the rule of law this nation was founded on.
But I know this: we are a racially-divided nation. Regardless of whatever progress we may have seen since the 1960’s and Martin Luther King, Jr., every time there’s an OJ, or a Trayvon, or a Michael Brown, it becomes glaringly obvious that we are divided by race.
I know that as a white pastor of a multi-cultural-but-majority-black congregation, where many of our members have been pulled over and detained by white police officers for no reason other than that they were caught “driving while black”.
I know that because my honor-roll-son was stopped and hassled by a white police officer while driving in a predominantly white suburb for no reason other than the fact that two of his best friends who happened to be black were in the car with him.
But I also know in my heart that (as someone else pointed out today) while anger over all of this is understandable, still yet anger is not a plan for life. Instead it is an absolute plan that’s guaranteed to bring even MORE pain!
And I especially know that Jesus died to reconcile ALL men, regardless of race or anything else that divides us, and that HE has called His Church to be agents of reconciliation. (read slowly through Ephesians 2:11-18 and 2Corinthians 5:14-20)
I know we’ve got a long way to go to heal the racial wounds of generations in this country.
But I also know it starts with each one of us as believers doing our part for reconciliation instead of adding to the racial divide with careless comments and actions.
Part of my Bible reading this morning seemed particularly appropriate as a way to close: 1Peter 3:8-12, which says:
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 10 For the Scriptures say,
“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
11 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.”