Sitting here thinking about the year that has been thus far, I keep coming back to, "When will it stop?" I’ve come a long way in how I think about our country’s issues with social injustices. I was once that kid that thought all law enforcement was there to do, was harass and threaten people of color, in particular men of color. This was all I knew at the time. The only interaction I had as a young black male with men in authority positions were with those in law enforcement who would threaten, be condescending, and use the power of their position to wrongfully afflict those they came in contact with on a daily basis.
At 14, I was told by police officers that if I didn’t go home and do as I was told they’d, "plant guns and drugs on me and I wouldn’t see the light of day until I was 30." I didn’t know how angry and frustrated I was with the prospect of not being treated fairly, solely based on the color of my skin for a long time. A reality some of us only see or hear about, this is what shaped my early views of law enforcement. I can understand why so many have this distrust and disdain of law enforcement, the “system,” and anything associated with furthering that agenda. Unfortunately far too often this leads to a blatant disregard and disrespect for that authority. As I’ve grown and matured, I’ve come to the realization that there are good and bad people in every profession.
Now I’m not excusing or condoning some of the senseless and outlandish things that have been done to men of color because those are abhorrent acts that we, as a country, can’t and shouldn’t stand for. What I am saying is, in every walk of life we find those that are better at what they do than others. We are products of our environments, but more aptly put, we are products of our experiences. This is a systemic issue we are trying to address so there is no simple fix or quick solutions. Where this issue must begin to be addressed is in our homes and neighborhoods. We as parents, leaders, and mentors have a responsibility to train up children in our neighborhoods to a standard of where their quality of life is enhanced. To move in this direction there needs to be a level of love, respect, awareness, and accountability that permeates through our community.
What I’ve also come to realize in my walk with Christ is that some people don’t even realize that they have been shaped by the opinions of their parents, friends, communities, TV, or other events they have witnessed and in some instances, those opinions are heavily influenced by a worldly take on things. This is important because as the Bible tells us that we too walked in the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). Why is this important? It is vital because we too made poor decisions based on our desires and lack of understanding in how to walk according to the will of God. One thing is certain, we will all answer for our deeds on this Earth.
Do you want to have to answer the question of why did you not you show love when love was what was being asked of you to be shown? Or when we go to the throne and fall down and beg for God’s grace and mercy because we’ve wronged someone? How can we ask for something we aren’t willing to give? That’s a tough question, but as a follower of Jesus this is exactly what we are tasked with doing. This doesn’t excuse things we have all seen or heard but we are to forgive and pray for those that have done people wrong. Yes, it does hurt! Absolutely, to see young men lose their lives senselessly and without just cause. To see their friends and families grieve and mourn the loss of a life that hadn’t gotten the opportunity to fully bloom is heartbreaking. It pains me each time I see it. I hate having to have “the talk” with young men and even my own children on how to communicate with law enforcement.
As a man it is hard for me to think of how unfair that is but I’m reminded of Jesus' walk. Was it fair for Jesus, the Messiah, to have to endure the things that were set before Him to go through? Jesus always responded by doing the will of the Father. Jesus responded and walked by the Word of God. That’s what we have to get back to. We have to, as a community, teach, train, and most importantly go out and do what the Word of God says to do! It’s not popular, but in these times we have trust in God’s Word and stand on the promises with the faith that God has given us. It is our responsibility and vocation as the redeemed to walk and work according to what God said.
Again, does it make the social injustice right or easier to digest? In most cases no, it evokes feelings in us all. As the body of Christ, we are tasked with being apart of the solution to issues that plague our communities. How can we be servants to this cause in this hour? I don’t begin to know all the answers to this but I know we have to be led by Jesus in this quest. I used to want to fight this fight with my fists, but I’ve realized I need to fight this fight on my knees, making my petitions known to Jesus. We have what many don’t understand and that is the understanding of what calling on the name of Jesus can do in any situation.