As we all know, on May 25, George Floyd died while being restrained by a police officer named Derek Chauvin. Mr. Floyd was arrested after allegedly trying to use a counterfeit $20. He was detained and held down on the ground by the arresting officer who kept his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck. Three other officers and bystanders looked on while these events took place.
As you might expect, given the very divided nature of our nation, there are conflicting stories about the exact nature of Mr. Floyd’s arrest. Some stories say he resisted. Others claim that he did not resist. I want everyone to try to determine the facts of the case as accurately as possible without letting our emotions cloud our judgment. You and I, as Christians, have a responsibility to seek out the truth no matter what it is, regardless of whether it agrees without our point of view or not. Whatever the case may be, I hope that we all look to Scripture rather than to political pundits and volunteer moralists all crying out for our attention.
Those who live lives outside of Christ may or may not commit to the truth. A disturbing tendency I see in our culture is for people to use facts selectively in the effort to support their point of view. We see this in media venues of all kinds, from major news outlets down to memes posted by individual Facebook users. Knowing this, we must understand that some will try to manipulate us one way or another. That is why I say that you and I have to be people of truth. Friends, participating in creating or sharing propaganda is beneath us.
As I see it, the details that I have available to me show that Officer Chauvin’s actions led to Mr. Floyd’s death. I have seen some attempts made to absolve Officer Chauvin of Mr. Floyd’s demise by saying the exact cause of death had more to do with his underlying health conditions. And I understand that those may be contributing factors. But as I see it, Mr. Floyd would be alive today if his arrest had been conducted differently.
I don’t know how specific we can be when discussing the details of this particular case. I’ve seen parties on both sides make indefensible statements backed by no evidence whatsoever. In my opinion, this is throwing gasoline on the fire. This is why I say we must be people of truth. Cooler heads will always prevail. And an issue like race relations in America demands the highest level of attention, care, and concern.
The United States is an incredible country. We have the right to protest anything we want. And there is no shortage of wrongs in our society that need to be addressed. There is no doubt that many injustices exist in our nation. Many people are evaluated negatively by the color of their skin, the type of language they use, or the clothing they wear. This is not right. When we look at the Bible, we could cite dozens of passages in the Old and New Testaments that explicitly teach that every person is a treasured creation of God, that every person is worthy of hearing the gospel preached, and that every person has a right to God’s grace when they become a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.
In the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death, you know—if you’ve seen the news—that there is rioting taking place. I believe, as Christians, we should all be able to peacefully protest, and be able to do so without consequence. But riots are a different matter. It involves the commission of sinful acts, the likes of which no Christian should ever be guilty. I’ve seen some Christians trying to defend the rioters and looters with the quote, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” And it is, in the city of man. But those of us who live in the city of God clearly cannot condone or defend these activities. To do so would be to renounce some of the most basic principles taught by Jesus in his time on earth.
At the same time, we must also condemn every act of inequality and every episode of injustice. You and I have to work as Christians to create a society where riots like these are not only unthinkable because they are wicked, but because the injustices that lead to them no longer exist. I realize that this is the ideal and that it is unattainable in this life. You can I cannot create a perfect society. But we can join hands to help create a better one, where discrimination, injustice, and unfairness are transparently seen for the evils that they are.
I ask that all of us pray for the good of our nation. James 5:16 says, “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” We can demonstrate our singular allegiance to Christ by lifting hands to pray rather than pillage.
I want to encourage everyone to resist the temptation to let our anger flare out of control, and instead model the measured, determined, and controlled anger that Jesus exhibited in his time on earth. Anger moved Cain to murder his brother. It drove kings to kill the prophets. These are examples unworthy of our imitation.
I want all of my brothers and sisters in Christ to remember that we are part of one body. It would be a shame for a moment of unchecked anger to add to the friction that already exists in our nation. I would hate to see anyone undermine their own efforts at a better tomorrow by sharing something unnecessarily insensitive or offensive in social media that would widen the divisions we are trying to heal. And I hope that none of God’s people would fall into the trap of adopting worldly ways of thinking or using secular solutions to repair spiritual problems. Because I can tell you, looking at the world right now, the devil is pleased.
The very first thing the devil did was to create division, first, between God and man. And second, between Adam and Eve. He has been creating division ever since. Nothing would be better than for us to work toward the peace and harmony that God honors, and that the devil despises.
The solution to the problems at hand begins with our hearts, seeing that injustice and inequality are symptoms of spiritual heart disease. It also means that we listen before we speak. It means that we refuse to stereotype other people, no matter who they are. Remember that Jesus loved people of many different ethnicities and from all walks of life. We also condemn every act of violence, no matter who commits it—whether they wear a badge during the day or a mask at night.
So we as Christians must do what we do best: imitate the character of Christ, peacefully speak out against injustices that we see in our world, and never stop working to shape our society so that every human being, regardless of gender, race, or creed is treated as they deserve: a beautifully unique and remarkable creation of God Almighty.
You can see a video version of this post here.