Read Clint Decker’s August HOPE FOR TODAY column post here or on the column site.
The clashes between police and black protestors have riveted the nation. Young black men have lost their lives at the hands of police and police have lost their lives in retaliation. As a result charges of racism have been thrown back and forth by supporters and opponents. The word that comes to mind when I ponder all this is – division, and how unnecessary it is.
What good do protestors accomplish by cursing, yelling, throwing rocks, physical assaults and death threats? Yes, they get the attention of the public, news media and lawmakers. However, in the face of such lawlessness their cause has become blurred due to their egregious actions. Furthermore, the character they have brought to the table to attain their goals has become marred.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was adamant about his use of peaceful means for change. He once stated, “Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace.” Yes, his protests did have clashes with police but he did not provoke it with rude and crude means. He maintained class and calmness in the face of unjust circumstances.
There is indeed a tragedy of epic proportions among the young black men of our American inner cities. The situation they face should alarm all Americans no matter their color. For an inner city black baby to grow up and graduate from high school is against many odds, then adding college, finding a career, getting married and having a family is even more rare. Unfortunately, going to prison or getting shot from gang violence or police is all too common.
Does retaliating against police or the system help these young men? I believe the answer starts with Jesus. Through His suffering, death and resurrection overcame all the forces hell could assail at Him. He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd” (John 10:10).
If protestors sought out inner city pastors and churches and together they cried out to God against the evil and injustices in their communities, what a difference that would make! Through Jesus division can turn to unity, evil to good and hate to love.