Human fallenness is a very tragic sight, and I am fully aware of my own weaknesses. Sin––I hate it; it robs God of His glory; robs me of my fellowship with Him; robs our families of stability and peace. So please be aware, the following statements are coming from a fellow fallen sinner, saved only by the grace of God.
The situation in Ferguson, Missouri is not a minor matter. It has been the cause of a variety of reactions from many people, and possibly fear in the hearts of others. Undeniably, there is no place for anyone to over-analyze the situation because only God has the most accurate record. Eyewitnesses are not objective because they are sinful people. While we rely on their testimony, we should be clear on the potential lack of trustworthiness; what they say may be based on human disingenuousness.
So as a servant of God and a preacher of truth, I will not attempt to justify the actions of the police officer nor the deceased. For certain, the deceased cannot speak for himself. But while I agree there is room for speculation and doubt based on human tendency, much of that will only cast a shadow on objective reasoning.
That does not preclude the need for truthful discussion and response to this, especially when bloggers are repositioning themselves, and social advocates are aligning their wallets, conveying unbiblical compassion in a situation that has yet to play out. When something like this happens, it necessitates a biblical and God-honoring response. My focus is on our reaction, not what took place.
Furthermore, no argument will be made as to why God allows what He allows. No one has a right to ask God questions other than: “If God is so good, why does anyone live in light of His perfect holiness?” Any other question is not worthy of our time or attention at the moment. There is absolutely no reason to answer questions interrogating God’s character, especially seeing how dishonest many are with themselves and just how insignificant we are had it not been for the kindness of God.
But I must raise a question or present a concern in the form of a question: How extensive is racism and how long must we carry it? And never can I compare today’s experiences with what took place in the lives of slaves who were tortured and treated inhumanely. Please understand, I am not downplaying what took place during that time. The horrific actions in the past against them were heinous and unimaginable. There is deep regret and sorrow as I consider just how hateful the human heart is and can be.
Yet for the masses, if the law were not in place, how many people would we have slaughtered and do slaughter (abortion; killing of a 9 year old boy, etc.)? If we were able to fully exercise the extent of our anger or frustration with fellow drivers on the highway or agitating customers, just how many people would we have murdered? Many of us may be guilty of murder in our heart toward someone.
I recall an incident a few years ago while my family and I lived in Georgia. My wife and children would drive to Florida almost every year to visit family members. As we left Atlanta taking I75 South, and entered the southern region of Atlanta, I forgot to turn on my headlights as the sun was beginning to set. A cop pulled me over and began to interrogate me, asking me where I was going and who I was going to see. He proceeded to ask me a couple of other questions, including permission to search my van. This cop said: “it is highly suspicious that you would be going on vacation for over a week with very little luggage.” That was an unusual statement and for certain he suspected something else (maybe drugs).
My wife would love the opportunity to have given him some packing tips (we pack lightly these days because every hotel has a washer and dryer). In any case, I stood behind this officer as he examined the rental van. Little did I know there was another officer behind him. It was difficult to see because the lights from his vehicle obscured everything around me. As he was searching, I proceeded to reach into my pocket for a cell phone when I heard a clicking sound to my right. As I turned around I noticed the second officer reaching for his gun. I quickly diffused the situation by acknowledging him.
So yes, I have been targeted, but each time I simply gave honor or conceded to the person in authority and left their conduct to the Lord. One trusted Christian said I should have reported him; I could not. My conscience would not allow me to do so. My respect and appreciation goes out to these men and women who protect us when we are sleeping and keep us in line when we are driving. Some of them have lost their lives saving others. How many cops die needlessly by the hand of evil and wicked criminals? For that reason alone, I am grateful to God for them. It would be nice if we protested the unnecessary killing of cops to be fair. But that is asking too much of partial people.
But for the times I have been “profiled” I cannot count the other times officers have been courteous to me or gave me grace. To say most of them try to be fair with me is an understatement. My experience with them overall has been wonderful. Why would I let a couple of instances change that?
Of course, other respected people have taken a different route, referring to the past killings or abuse similar to the one in Missouri to prove a point that problems still exists. That approach concerns me deeply. If we have sound doctrine that should heal, why do we need a table talk on healing the hurt? There is nothing anyone can do to change the past. Talking about it apart from Scriptural instruction on godliness will not cure the ills; looking to Jesus will. The word of God is the solution, so why should we waste time talking about anything else. Even as I am writing this, the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ drives me away from anything else that does not declare the goodness of God and what He has done for sinners. When these events take place, should we not take advantage of the platform and make Christ known? After all, we believe Christ is the solution, right?
My brothers and sisters in the Lord, why can we not just preach more, pray earnestly, and protest less? Can we expend our energy praying for the government instead of posting hateful Facebook links? Should we not incline ourselves to a biblically driven reaction instead of an emotional rant garbed in spiritual vacillation? If God is God, why can we not just look at a world in sin and redirect our passion to proclaiming the message of truth to them.
We cannot deny there is a problem, but why are we so inclined to go back instead of looking up and searching Scripture? And are not instances like this the exception and not the norm? Will the news report the multiple thousands who graduate every year and have jobs? Do they broadcast all of the positive activities by law enforcement?
If we know the so-called “black on black” crime is higher, why are we not examining this biblically by realizing many people are oppressed because of sin? Personally, I would still be a prime contributor to this worlds ills had it not been for the transforming power of the gospel. I would rather testify how my gracious God took an ignorant and arrogant kid, and convicted him of sin. How He by His benevolent, gracious and loving mercy reached down and picked Seymour Helligar from the slums of sin in into His palace of peace.
I have this treasure in an earthly vessel and the excellence is not of me but God (2 Cor. 4:7). By His power and might, the glory of Christ is in me and can be seen through me (2 Cor. 3:18). My time is to be spent announcing and pronouncing His saving work (1 Cor. 2:1-5) and His coming. Paul proceeded to say that as God’s servants, we do not preach what we like, ourselves, or what the people are voting for; we preach Christ as ruler, as Lord (2 Cor. 4:5). Even in times of great national duress, Christ, as Lord is the solution to the world’s sinful ills.
What wonderful news I have for the oppressed. The Spirit of the Lord God anointed Jesus Christ to restore all who are in sin––and that is every human being who would believe. In fact, man’s rejection of God is the greatest injustice. Man, who has rejected God willfully has no grounds to call others out for injustice. We have all grieved God greatly. All have sinned and fall woefully short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). Millions of people shake their fist at the one who created them, writing books to refute His existence. Many of us wake up in the mornings and greet everyone else but the holy one of Israel. What injustice; what a travesty. But God who is rich in mercy still declares sinners as righteous in Christ and saves us; should we not be rich in mercy and kindness in light of our Savior’s mercy and kindness toward us?
To the preachers who have used their pulpits to promote impulsive and carnal reactions instead of prayer and teaching of the word: we do not have any rights to what we can do on the pulpit, only one mandate––preach the word every moment (2 Tim. 4:2). The preacher who proceeded to enter the pulpit with his hoodie on after the death of Trayvon Martin, actions like these tarnish the heavenly impetus of the pulpit and is a public denunciation of God’s sovereignty over the message and the messenger. To anyone who uses the church for anything but the glory of God, the glory will depart.
Scripture is the only means for us to use and apply to everything; it gives clarity. The word of the Lord is perfect; it converts the soul. Its testimony is sure, making the simple wise (Psalm 19:7). We grieve with the hurting, yes. We comfort the family involved, but we do not for any instance take sides. God is the one who will vindicate and bring about justice. We are to know only Jesus Christ and Him crucified. All subjectivity must be left out of the pulpit and when we discuss tragedies opinions are unbiblical. In fact, I am confident that faithful men will handle those issues biblically. We do not have time to use these moments to call foul when people are going to hell every second.
Brothers, that includes our blogs; our blogs need not be rife with opinions over past hurts. Social inclination is just as deadly or more so than open social justice. The reason being is that it is subtle, but lethal. Let us just leave it all alone and preach truth. There are plenty of Scripture that teach community injustice, but sin is the root cause of all injustice. If Jesus did not repair it when He was on earth, what makes us think we will change it? Man is conditioned to do what they do because of sin.
Only the gospel can change them. And please do not tell me Christians were a part of the abuse of the helpless in the past. If they were, they were not Christians of the Bible. Never let religion go untested; they will be known by their fruit (Matt. 7:15-20).
Finally, we do not need to know who was wrong in the situation to make the most out of it: every person without Christ stands eternally guilty before God. Make the right call and implore sinners to be reconciled to God. Use this time to demonstrate through biblical preaching that man apart from God is utterly depraved.
And may God be glorified.