With the shooting of Jacob Blake, we are seeing outward what has been brewing for hundreds of years because of sinning against a people and the continued outworking of the consequences of that sin. We are foolish to think that sin’s consequences of that magnitude just disappear. Whatever one sows they will reap. Here’s a sobering reality: my sin today may have generational consequences for many down the line. Hate sin, repent, seek right. There may be good that comes rather than the cancerous offspring of rebellion against God. Sin always kills. It never brings life.
The truth is that many of us don’t know what to think or believe. We watch the horrible video, and well, it’s horrible. Horrible does not even do it justice. We read the report on CNN or Fox or Drudge or WSJ or whatever source you go to for news and see that there is a back story. The police weren’t just cruising around looking to shoot someone.
We hurt for Jacob Blake and his children, his mother and father, and the bystanders who are traumatized from the event. We hurt for the officers who, because they are human, are likely hurting right now as well. We hurt for the family who called the police looking for help only for it to turn out like this. We hurt for our black brothers and sisters who are afraid of law enforcement, and would rather not call if they need help because of fear.
I hurt for my sons, one of which is black, who don’t quite know what to think or believe and have a slight fear of that happening to them.
We look on social media and “leaders” are making statements. Why? Some feel pressured to make a public comment because they are a public figure. Some just spout off because they don’t know how to act in public. Some comment because they fear being seen as on the wrong side of history, as though a comment on social media places them in the right place.
I’m sure some will put me in one of these categories or another of their choosing for writing this. I’m trying to not make s callus statement and make a fool of myself with some tweet. I’d rather at least try to help TRC people see that we can have questions and not know answers but have a firm place to land in writing rather than a string of social media posts.
We have loads of questions. Why is it that black men and women continue to be the majority of who we see being shot? Are there other ethnicities being shot? Why does that not make it into the news? What about the traumatic state of law enforcement and the constant state of high alert, life-threatening, low pay, high hours work? Does that affect their responses to threatening situations? Why do certain protesters try to stir the pot to loot and kill and destroy? Where are the peaceful protesters? Why do sports fanatics feel the need to criticize black athletes when they choose to make themselves heard?
Why is it we feel some internal force creating anger when someone we think is on the team we are on makes a statement we don’t agree with? Why do we feel a compunction to polarize to our default race? Why is it that the only seeming place to go is to two extremes many of us can’t even identify with? Where is the middle ground of level headed, honest evaluation, truth-seeking, truth-telling, justice pursuing, righteousness loving, multi-ethnic unity?
Why is it that when a Christian brother or sister laments, others who can’t identify with their lamenting feel the need to be critical of them and drive them away? The exit of minorities from evangelicalism is alarming.
I’m sure some will read this and in their minds will believe they have all the answers, and some will simply say the answer is “Jesus”.
Well, nobody has all the answers. And, in one sense Jesus is the answer, but Jesus has some tactics that have to be discovered in his word and actually implemented in obedience to him in humility for “Jesus” to be the accurate answer. Some will read that last sentence and dismiss this/me altogether.
Here is what I know today:
- We must have prophets who won’t speak from or two polarized populations. Rather, these Spirit-filled prophets must speak from God’s eyes, throne, and ethic. Those speaking must proclaim what God sees.
- For us who call ourselves Christian, we have to practically live in Ephesians 2, understanding that the race we are transcends our physical race. We are the race of the citizens of God’s kingdom, and that race is multi-ethnic. Our race is a rainbow of unity on the mission of Jesus Christ’s reign and rule. That means all of our unique and right applications of God’s word have an equal share at the table. We, together, are a family. It is not us against them. It is us for us and Jesus’ fame among the nations. I believe we are fundamentally failing here because we identify ourselves first as a race and Christian after that, thus part of the polarized crowd.
- We should not feel compelled to fuel any narrative on social media because we believe “we” or “that” needs to be heard. That’s the fake allure of social media.
- We should feel compelled by the Spirit to pick up the phone and call a friend who may be hurting, confused, mourning, and isolated and tell them we are with them in Christ, we have their back, and we love them. Statements on social media apart from any relational connection to other ethnicities rings hollow. If you don’t have any ethnic relationships who see things differently than you, that is a problem.
- We should not taste food for some time, fast, like not fast from TV, like don’t taste food until the Lord himself gives us his perspective from a robust reading and intake of his word. I challenge you to build in fasting as a discipline to hear from God. Humbling oneself before God alone has a tendency to keep us in the wagon tracks of God.
- We must commit ourselves to prayer. Get alone. Get quiet. Have your Bible open. Pray according to God’s word. Bring your requests to God according to his word. Sit quietly and listen. Prayer is a conversation between us and God. Master that. It will be that kind of prayer in faith that moves some of these mountains in front of us.
- Don’t contribute to the polarized narratives. Rise above them with the vantage point of God’s word. Critique everything by the Manual, and come down on God’s side refusing to be a pawn in someone else’s game.
- When you don’t know what to believe, don’t speak. Listen and learn. Far too many people, as my mother used to say, “out broadcasting when they ought to be tuning in.”
- Discern between righteous anger and unrighteous anger. Don’t go to bed with unrighteous anger in your soul. That will turn to bitterness and further division among those who should be unified.
- He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8 Do justice. If you don’t know what Justice is, then figure it out. If you are repelled by the concept of justice, you need to ask yourself why. There is something wrong. Self-diagnose. God is a God of justice, and if you repel at people seeking justice, there is a problem and its likely on the inside. Love kindness. The vitriol being spewed by those who call themselves Christian is out of place. Walk humbly with Jesus. He’s the King. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. Walk with him as a learner of his way, and he will make sure to do the pulling and you get to go along for a most redemptive ride.
I hope my questions and a few things I know for sure are a help to you today. May grace and peace be multiplied to you in Christ Jesus. Out.