Nearly 70 days into “Safe at Home”/ the Covid-19 crisis, George Floyd was mercilessly killed by a police officer. All at once, a nation of individuals, many of whom were already stretched to their limit, snapped. A nation, and then the world, saw a handcuffed Mr. Floyd bear the weight of a police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes, even as Floyd repeatedly stated that he couldn’t breathe. To the shock and dismay of other onlookers, the other officers present stood by and watched passively as the life was literally sucked out of Mr. Floyd, a fellow image bearer of our Creator.
The video of his murder went viral immediately, igniting justifiable anger, unquenchable grief and unending dismay. There is no universe in which we can watch this incident and excuse any part of it. Cries of “No justice, no peace” have been heard around the globe. Peaceful protests have taken place all over our own country, along with great destruction of personal property, businesses, churches and national and local monuments. Buildings have been burned, police vehicles defaced and destroyed and more lives lost in the chaos that has followed. Anarchy is taking place in many of our cities.
Nearly overnight, the same first responders we hailed as heroes a mere three weeks earlier became the object of that same violence. Many of us who eschew judging others by the color of their skin now cast blanket judgement on all who wear a badge and drive a black and white vehicle. Sadly, in this world where sin and the prince of darkness reigns, hate, bigotry, lust for power, selfishness and ignorance will never be completely eliminated. Even so, that doesn’t mean that every officer is wicked anymore than all men play golf. Painting with that wide a brush is both foolish and dangerous.
As a disciple of Christ, my heart breaks at the shameful treatment and murder of Mr. Floyd and the foothold it has given our enemy. While many are convinced that the protests, looting, violence and general destruction are all about racial inequality, social justice and/or politics, there is a greater truth we are overlooking. There are spiritual forces at work all around us, threatening all of humankind with destruction, prejudice, hate, chaos and division. Read your Bible.
The collateral damage, makes an aching heart heavier still. The resulting devastation to our communities is symptomatic of the deep division the enemy is nurturing in the hearts and minds of men. When I see the vitriol from believers on social media chastising other believers for their responses or lack thereof, I could weep. Division is one the enemy’s most effective tools. Jesus calls us again and again to be united in faith, spurring one another to good works, loving our brothers and sisters, gathering together, praying always, not showing favoritism, and spurring one another on to good works.
If you haven’t already done so, Christians, it’s time to act. Not as the world would have us, but as the WORD tells us to. We need to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves, defend those who are unjustly accused or mistreated, welcome to our tables and into our homes those who don’t look like us or act like us. We are called to give special consideration to those who have greater needs. We don’t have to be experts or have all the answers, but we need to be actively and regularly seeking them in God’s Word. We need to know it so well that we are equipped, armed and dangerous as we then act on what it tells us to do when confronting the spiritual forces that threaten to divide us. The evil around us is real–
But there is an antidote
As my pastor so eloquently stated just yesterday, with regard to all the unrest in this world– ”
“the body of Christ is the antidote.”
Yes. The church, God’s people, we are the antidote. We need to lay down our earthly weapons and take up our spiritual ones. We do not have the luxury of lashing out in anger, demeaning those who disagree with us or spewing hate. We are held to a higher standard than this world calls for. Jesus calls us to be salt and light. We need to pray always, to be peacemakers and to listen much more than we speak. He calls us to be merciful and seek justice. We must work to love those who hate us and to choose to serve vs being served. We need to be the good Samaritans, be willing to get our hands dirty, give sacrificially and also to be respectful and to pray for those in positions of authority. We are to pray for those who consider us enemies, yes, even to love them as they mock us. We may be angry but we are not to sin in our anger.
We cannot undo the past but we can expand our spheres of influence, lean into the future and be committed to living a life that both honors and continually shares the One who came to serve and save. This is the good news of Jesus Christ who came to save men and women of every tribe, tongue and nation. The truth is, nothing will change until hearts and minds are changed by surrendering to the One who holds us in His Everlasting Arms. And we need to tell them as we share and live out the Gospel.
We all have much to learn. But we must not lose heart in the midst of the battle. We can and must continue to learn, to listen, to love, to pray and to then to act on what we know. We need to do what we know to do. Be encouraged by the words of the great American poet, Dr. Maya Angelou, who so beautifully said,
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”
We can all do better. And, by the grace of God, we will. Let’s walk forward in both faith and hope. Let it begin with me.
For more about what the Bible says on these issues, start here:
1 Thessalonians 5:17