When the Ferguson incident happened some weeks ago, I was quickly prompted by several people to give some kind of response. Of course, it was clear that more than anything, they wanted to see if what I had to say agreed with what they had to say about it all. When I took a neutral stance and stated that I hadn’t formed a clear point of view yet, many were even more frustrated with me, and some went ahead and decided for me as to what I believe; putting words, thoughts, and feelings in my my mouth and heart that I did not, nor still do not have.
I am not an expert in race or race relations, nor have I been a victim of slavery or birthed into a racial minority. I have very little frame of reference as to what it feels like and means to be a black person in America. Equally, I have never been a police officer or a part of our legal system. No one in my family has ever been in either of these arenas. I have very little frame of reference as to what it feels like and means to be a police officer of part of the legal system in America.
We are so quick to speak and slow to listen in our culture. And furthermore, we often place our agendas, experiences, and emotions above the truth about things, or the seeking thereof. I know have been guilty of this myself in other issues. I became so sure that I knew the truth before I in fact, knew the truth.
I have no clue as to the complete truth about the Ferguson tragedy, or any other. I have read the same articles and reports as you. But for me, the final conclusion is… I wasn’t there at the incident and I was not a part of the legal process. Does that make me a racist that I don’t declare war on white police officers and our legal system? No. Does it make me a cop-hater and one who does not value our legal system because I don’t automatically side with officers and juries involved in any and every shooting or incident? No.
But here is what I do know… When there is perceived to be an error of people in practice or thinking (such as racism) the predominant reaction is to quickly swing the pendulum the other direction, often over emphasizing things in an effort to correct things. In my own line of work, this happens frequently. When there is an error of people in their practice or thinking about God or the Christian life, some quickly swing the theological pendulum in the other direction, unintentionally creating another theological error in order to bring correction to a previous one.
Yet, what is needed is not over correction, but to find true correction. Not a mark north of north, but true north.
The truth is, the only statement, call, declaration or battle cry we could ever rightfully imagine coming from the mouth of Jesus, our Creator is ALL LIVES MATTER. I understand where people come from when trying to bring justice to a perceived injustice. But, this is the only message that will bring us to the center, to the truth, and to the solution of racism of every kind and color. Otherwise, we will just be a perpetual, swinging pendulum of racism. When our practice and thinking in America aligns to ALL LIVES MATTER, then and only then will people be free and racism disarmed. Only then, will justice flow like a river, and all men be judged by the quality of their character not the color of their skin.
Do black lives matter? Of course they do. All LIVES MATTER…. police, victims, perpetrators, black, white, brown, rich, poor, enemy, friend, born, unborn. ALL lives matter. Until that is our song, our anthem, our heart, our cause, our banner, our focus, our resolve, we will fall short of God’s heart and continue to have racism (and injustice) of every kind and flavor… black against white, white against black, asian against hispanic, and on and on and on.
Because God hates racism and injustice of every kind, ALL LIVES MATTER, equally.