Does it feel like the wheels are coming off our world when you watch the news lately? Ebola, beheadings, riots, earthquakes.
It feels a little like that to me, and I have to fight the urge to watch the news constantly. The news makes me feel frustrated and fearful, and I don’t like that. I’ve been trying to stay in the Word of the Lord rather than focusing on all the chaos. Because ultimately, I know, God is in control.
Ebola seems far away, even though I am praying for those in West Africa and I’m praising God for the healing of Dr. Brantly. The Middle East crisis is frustrating and frightening, but also far away (at least for now). But Ferguson, MO is not far away. It’s here in America. It’s in a town, like yours or mine. I don’t know the answers in Ferguson, MO. No one does. No one really knows the truth, and yet all seem to have lined up on ‘their’ side. The news is reporting hearsay and unnamed sources. The media is a monster that needs to be constantly fed, so they find whatever bits and pieces they can. And how much is true? How much is false? How much do they just not know at this time?
I think it’s important that we look at the deeper issues, deeper than skin tone.
Here’s what I know:
- Racism still exists. And that is heartbreaking to me. In my world, I thought it was pretty much eradicated, but in talking to a friend this week, who has children of a different color, I learned stupid people still exist. But racism isn’t one sided. It seems to me that a lot of folks were eager to believe a white cop maliciously killed an innocent black teen. A lot of people wanted to stir up more hate and fear. The truth, I hope, will come out. But I’m not sure the truth can bring healing when so many want justice according to their own views. Only Jesus can heal hearts. Truth only reveals brokenness. But this whole incident has shown me that deep down in hearts across America hate and fear and distrust reside.
- Life is full of choices and the consequences of such. We all make choices—chocolate or regular milk, gluten or not, Diet Coke or water. Some choices are easy, some not so much. Some choose to follow the law, others do not. We also choose rather to forgive or not, whether to hate or not, whether to trust or not. We choose how we are going to look at the world through rose-tinted glasses or through squinty, distrustful eyes. We also choose whether or not we want to be offended. If we are looking to be offended, then we will. If we are looking to spread the love of Christ, then we will. Choices are all around us. And once we make a choice, we must accept the consequences.
- Ignorance exists. Try walking in someone else’s shoes. Try looking at life from a different perspective instead of always from your own comfy chair. I often take this for granted because I’m a writer so I do this all the time. But most folks don’t. They should. Try walking around in Michael Brown’s shoes for a while, how he was raised, what was his life was like, what kind of family did he have. Then try walking around in Darren Wilson’s shoes. What’s it like to be a cop, to walk up to a car, not knowing who is inside or what their motives are, what is it like to confront folks on a daily basis?
- Finally, if we let fear, hate or rebellion rule our lives then we will be towed around like we are wearing a leash, tugged this way and that and we will not have control of our own lives. If we hold onto fear, hate or rebellion then we cannot grasp the cross of Christ. We cannot grasp His mercy and grace (and boy do we all need extra helpings of His mercy and grace), nor can we extend it to another.
Finally, again, I don’t know what happened in Ferguson, MO, but I know that those who are there need Jesus. They need His healing touch. They need His mercy and grace. How can we ask anyone to love when they don’t know Jesus? Jesus is the only one who can teach us how to love. We need Jesus in our lives to change us from the inside out. He won’t make us perfect. We will still make mistakes, and we’ll have to pay for those mistakes. But Jesus will help us be better than we are and will save us from ourselves.