George Floyd – isn’t it amazing how quickly the narrative can change. A week ago, the name of this man would have meant nothing to most of us, but now it has taken the spotlight off of even Covid-19.
My heart breaks as I think about the reality of what happened in Minneapolis, and what is happening on a lesser scale all across America on a daily basis. The troubling piece of this that has kept me awake at night is how in the world does a police officer, or anyone else for that matter, get to the point where he reverts to this level of hatred for another human being that has been created in the image of God.
Our first reaction to this type of thing is often to quickly defend ourselves and assure ourselves and others that “I’m not racist”. We feel justified by this statement and so now the problem becomes someone else’s problem to deal with. But this is not helpful. We as the body of Christ would do well to listen closely to the cries of a hurting culture around us. The methods being used to cry out are terrible and not justified by any stretch of the imagination. But if we listen closely, I believe that we can learn something that will be helpful in our interactions with people around us that have been pushed down for a few hundred years.
The level of oppression that has been inflicted on the black culture in this country over the past few centuries is such that it is not possible to just simply “get over it”. This oppression was on such a deep level that even the laws of the land had dehumanized the people of this culture. This creates a trauma type wound on a people. There is significant healing that needs to happen in order for healthy relationships to begin happening again.
There are obviously many healthy relationships all around us that cross the cultural and ethnic lines. The message that Jesus Christ and his apostles taught was a message of love for one another and that love is the catalyst for these healthy relationships. But the love that Jesus taught involved honoring one another, it involved recognizing the value of another human being as a child of God. When I look at what is happening all across the country, it becomes clear that this is what is missing. We, as the church have the answer!
All throughout the New Testament, we see teaching about justice. We hear the cries for justice. But true justice would find us all falling well short of the mark. I believe that it is only when we are able to recognize our own desperate need for mercy, and see the amazing love of God for us, that we can realize our need to extend that pure love to all of humanity. How in the world can we even begin to have a superiority mentality when we have received so much mercy ourselves? We were all created equal, and we remain equal to the end!
This has been a lot of rambling but I conclude this with a plea to each of you to determine in your heart that you will attempt to listen closely to the cries. Listen without judgement. Listen with love. Listen to hear the pain. Then attempt to understand on whatever level you can. Lets begin by changing the narrative right here where we live.