Six little bullets may be the straw that breaks the camel's back...America is being torn asunder, and this current incident has the potential to set our country on fire!
Ferguson, Missouri is in chaos: an 18 year old black man was shot six times by a white police officer. Before you form your argument, decide blame and begin debating your point; ask yourself, "What if someone you love was shot 6 times; four times in the arm and twice in the head?"
What if he was your little brother? I can tell you how I would feel: Angry, confused, heart-broken, & demanding justice!
As I have been watching this scenario play out, I did not want to comment. I don't live there, I don't know all the facts, I'm not from an area where people are dying on the streets -- so for me it doesn't seem like an urgent issue. But as a pastor, there are times when I need to speak up and guide the people God has called me to teach to form the right opinions. Our job is to be like Jesus. And my singular advice is this: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." (Philippians 2:3)
This verse calls us, first and foremost, to listen and learn from others, "Value Others." When a black man is shot in cold blood we usually run to our own political leanings, jump to conclusions and point the angry finger of blame. This does not value anyone: Stop it and listen!
(1) If you are White: Have some compassion. Do you really know and understand what black people are up against in our culture? I just watched a CNN discussion on this. (*** see bottom of page) At first, I wanted to argue the pundits, but then I stopped and listened. I realized that I really don't know what it is like being instantly judged because I have black skin. I had a black roomate in college and I saw with my own eyes, how some people, not all, treated him differently than me. They pulled back, closed up, and were visibly uncomfortable around him. He wasn't being a jerk, he wasn't trying to cop an attitude, he was just....black. Let's face it, regardless if you think they are acting out, or playing the thug; remember, they really do underneath it all feel misunderstood and unfairly judged. So have some compassion.
(2) If you are Black: Most police officers are only trying to serve the public, that is a noble thing. And just like you and me -- they don't want to die doing their job. Can you imagine leaving your wife and children to go to work, and then you are asked to enter into a neighborhood skirmish knowing you may be shot? I would tend to be a bit defensive and hard-edged too. Most police officers I know are not trying to be "slave masters" and "NAZI enforcers" they are simply trying to stay alive. Seriously, have you watched some of the thug hip-hop lately? Cops are hated...you don't need to pile on the anger that is already out there against them. Show some honest respect.
(3) If you are Rich: You have the ability to buy security and isolation - - you can live in luxury far away from the deadly world most black and poor live in. Much of the poor in our country are stuck in rotted out apartments and dangerous neighborhoods. They are daily simply trying to survive. Don't view them as leeches trying to suck out your money. Do you even care that many single moms are dying on the inside? Aren't we supposed to help those in need regardless of how they got there? I am not arguing for more government solutions, I do not believe politicians hold the Utopian keys...but I do believe before God, the rich do have money to help those in need. To whom much is given....you know how it goes!
(4) If you are Poor: Don't play the part of the victim and live your life out of jealous anger and envy. Don't expect things, demand things, or hate people because they have things. Even if it seems unfair, this kind of attitude will eventually kill you...bitterness rots a soul. There are a lot of people using you, getting rich off of you, and they are fueling you to hate those who have more than you. The more angry you get, the more money they make! Trust God, and live responsibly one day at a time.
Scripture says to all of us, "Make it your ambition to lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness." What is godliness? Not success, not hatred, not political correctness, but extending mercy to others!
Jesus didn't have to leave heaven to save this dirty world, but he did. He gave his life for those he knew who would eventually kill him. He didn't demand, hold a rally, keep his riches to himself - - he gave it all up voluntarily (not by force) in order to save others.
Each group of people must learn from His example. Remember 1 Peter 2:20-25 - "Even though he was treated unfairly, he did not retaliate, he entrusted himself to Him who judges justly." How will God justly judge you? As someone who treated others better, or as a proud bigot that hated?