The fatal nature of Ferguson and what we must learn.

fergLast night a Grand Jury in Ferguson Missouri released their decision not to indict a local police officer for shooting and killing Michael Brown, a 18 year old African American male, who by reports, at the very least obstructed justice after a robbery before attempting to surrender to the officer; or who at the very worst, having had a physical altercation with the officer, attempted to take his gun, beat him and charged the officer with the intent to harm him, in which the officer shot in self defense.
Anytime a young person dies it is a tragedy, in fact, anytime anyone looses their life, especially when it is possible that it could have been avoided, either by the actions of the one responsible for taking the life or by the victim not instigating the incident in which they loose their life , it is a very sad, tragic, and heart breaking thing. Having said that we mourn with Mr. Smith’s parents and family and those who are directly affected by this incident. We also understand that for three months a grand jury met, looked at the evidence, researched, asked questions and explored the legality of the police officers actions and the actions of Mr Brown preceding the shooting. Bottom line, there was not enough evidence to indict, much less prosecute the police officer. This is the system in which we live and we should not only respect it but as believers we are to yield and submit to it. It is a good and just thing that a magistrate can not just arbitrarily decide to prosecute someone for an alleged crime without it first passing the test of a Grand Jury of peers who represent the very people who will be represented by the prosecutor in such a trial. This is how it should be. Agree or disagree with their decision, we must be thankful for the system that protects citizens from unjust prosecution. This decision says much about the Michael Brown case and the actions of the officer in question, but that does not take away from the truth that bothers many people concerning this incident.

1) Racism is real. Although we have made tremendous headway in the last 50 years it is still            true that we can do much better.

2) Police and civic authorities must attempt to be much more proactive in race relations in communities that are on the most part represented by a law enforcement community that does not represent in its makeup the racial diversity of the community it serves.

3) There has been at times, incidents in our history, when race played a role in violence and harm caused on a racial minority community by the racial majority community.

4) Injustice and criminal harm is wrong, always! Just because someone wears a badge and carries a gun does not mean that they are incapable of committing a crime and using their authority to do so. When they do it must be prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law.

All of these things are true, have been true and will always be true.    However, what we see playing out in Ferguson has less to do with that than we would think. The wanton violence, looting, criminal activity and insane behavior by many in that community does nothing but stoke the flames of racism on both sides of this issue and causes tremendous harm on a community that frankly has been through enough. The fact of the matter is that this was going to happen after last nights decision on some level because there are those who thrive on the insanity of lawlessness and there is always a reporter waiting to report and exploit that lawlessness for a good story. Just as it is wrong for those in law enforcement to commit crimes and use their position for ill gain or activity, it is also always wrong to propagate and deal in racial injustice as a means to your own end. There are also some other things that are patently wrong.

1) It is wrong to attack police officers who are simply doing their jobs. It is also unwise, it could cost you your life.

2) It is wrong to commit crimes in your community.

3) It is wrong to burn, loot and destroy the community in which you and others live and depend upon to make a living.

4) It is wrong to take advantage of a tragedy in a community in which you do not live, and exploit it politically through rhetoric or violence, to your own position or agenda.

5) It is wrong to commit crimes in which you will personally profit by stealing, looting or taking that which does not belong to you.

So what are we to do? As Christians we pray and we do the right thing. If the Grand Jury would have indicted this officer it would have been our responsibility to pray for the trial and that justice would be served one way or another. Had he been found guilty we would have prayed that he be punished justly for his crime. Since this is not the case, and there was not even enough evidence to go to trial, we pray that he and his family can somehow move on from this. We pray that Michael Browns family can grieve and heal and find God’s peace. We pray that the community of Ferguson can begin to move forward and learn from this and begin to address some legitimate issues that beset them and their local law enforcement agencies. As Christians we also need to face our own inner demons and ask ourselves if there s not a racial element involved in the way we perceive this whole horrid mess.  We need to accept the fact that because of our own fallen nature we might look into this whole tragedy with racially oriented lenses. If this is the case, then we need to repent and seek justice in any and every situation. Justice for the victim, and justice for the accused, and justice against those who would exploit a very sad scenario for their own good and their own gain.

As believers and Christ followers we must also cling with tenacity to the truth of the gospel! Which is through the reconciling work of Jesus on the cross,  not only is sin atoned yet I am reconciled to my brother and sister. I no longer see people as black, white or brown. I see them as blood washed children of God! The gospel reconciles and restores relationships that are separated by skin color or any other cultural or societal division. We must allow the gospel, nay, we must obey the gospel, espeacilly when it pertains to how we view and respond to issues of race and social justice.

I will close my thoughts with this. Last night on the news a young man was running out of a appliance store in Ferguson with a large screen television in his grasp. When asked by the reporter “What are you doing, why are you looting?” his reply was “This is justice, this is for Michael Brown!” Is it really? Do you really expect me to buy that? With very few exceptions no one believes that. In fact we know it to be what it is…the very thing you say you are protesting is what you are doing. It is crime, perpetrated on a community and a people because of racial division and sin. Lets call it what it is and accept it so that we can repent and move forward. Racial violence is wrong no matter what side of the badge your on. No matter what color your skin is. No matter what a Grand Jury says. As a people lets stop being the “pot that calls the kettle black”.





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