The recent tragedies that have taken place in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, Dallas, and other areas have illustrated a sickening reality: We’re At War. These are the words that no one wants to hear, but all silently acknowledge (at least beneath the surface).
I don’t want to pretend to understand what it means to be an African-American in today’s society or what it means to be a police officer in today’s society. With that said, here are a few thoughts on today’s issues from the perspective of a middle-class, caucasian male who holds a position of leadership in the church.
1. The Black Lives Matter Movement Is NOT The Issue
The first time I heard “Black Lives Matter,” I was taken back as I perceived it to be a racial divide. I know, some of you are probably going to stop reading this now because you feel I am pushing a particular agenda. To an extent, you’re right. But continue reading to see the agenda I’m pushing.
Black Lives Matter is not a movement that was started to create racial tensions and division. From my understanding, it was launched out of an effort to shed light on the mistreatment of some (not all) African-Americans in efforts to bring equality. Unfortunately, many have viewed this movement as an anti-everything else movement.
Did you know that Jesus himself went out of his way to help specific groups of people — the alienated, mistreated, and those facing injustice?
2. Law Enforcement Is NOT The Issue
While the media’s spin on current events are producing higher than normal TV ratings, it is creating distrust, hatred, and opposition towards our men and women in uniform.
Yes, there have been rare occurances (compared the number of issues that officers deal with) where men and women with a badge have misused their power. I have spoken to several officers who are saddened and sickened by the misuse of power from people in uniform that is creating a negative perception of police everywhere.
Here’s the reality. A vast majority of officers are great people. They are husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and so much more. They have taken a position which puts them at risk each time they put on a uniform to protect people like you and me. Many of them work shifts that require them to sacrifice time with their loved ones to ensure we’re safe while spending time with ours.
3. Democrats And Republicans Are NOT The Issue
I have never seen such animosity and division among political parties the way I have in recent months. I get it, both parties have opposing views on seemingly every issue at hand. But when did holding different views mean it’s ok to slander others because of their views? Yes, we are all passionate about our beliefs, but that doesn’t mean we need to treat others who believe differently as enemies.
4. Deception IS The Issue
Many of you are aware of the story of David and Goliath. You know, Goliath was the giant Philistine who was threatening the Israelites when a young boy named David came in and killed Goliath with a sling and a stone. While you may or may not be aware of the story, there is something I learned last night about this story that was very fascinating and something that I believe we could all learn from during these current trials we’re facing.
David’s father (Jesse) said to David one day “Take this basket of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread, and carry them quickly to your brothers” (1 Samuel 17:17). It is important to note that David’s brothers were with Saul and the Israelite army fighting against the Philistines when Jesse asked David to take them some food.
When David arrived with the food, he began getting the rundown on all that was taking place from some of the soldiers. His brother (Eliab) heard that David was talking to the men and became angry and asked David what he was doing there (see 1 Samuel 17:28). Sounds like a typical sibling fight right? But here’s where things shifted. Rather than fighting with his brother, David walked away from them to address the issue at hand.
Here’s what I’m trying to say: If David would have fought with his brother (the distraction), he would have never won the fight against the real enemy.
It’s time for us to stop fighting our brothers and sisters and begin realizing there is a bigger enemy to fight. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.“
5. You Matter
I want to call on everyone to begin a new movement called #YouMatter. With this movement, we will break down barriers of race, religion, politics, gender, inequality by acknowledging a simple truth: YOU MATTER.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we learned to love others by always reminding them that they matter? I’ve learned as a follower of Jesus that we are not only called to love those who believe the same things, but we are called to love our enemies. In fact, Matthew 5:46-47 says, “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.”
So let’s stop using our social media platforms to create more division. Let’s start looking at everyone (in person or online) with this perspective: YOU MATTER.