When we began our recent study of the book of Nehemiah, we started by recognizing that the things which break the heart of God should break our hearts as well. There is no doubt that God’s heart breaks over events in the USA. Time after horrific time, we have seen video images of people of color being killed for the high crime of having a particular skin color. The most recent of those was a man named George Floyd. The video of Mr. Floyd, who was African American, with a white police officer’s knee on his neck, saying over and over again that he could not breathe is something that will haunt my memory for a long time to come.
Floyd grew up in Houston, moving to Minneapolis around the time Susan and I moved from Houston to Wiesbaden. In Houston he was known as “Big Floyd” and helped churches set up mentoring and discipleship programs in some of Houston’s roughest neighborhoods. His body will be returned to Houston for burial in the coming days.
My heart breaks at the death of George Floyd, but it breaks even more because it is only one in a mind-numbing list of deaths. It breaks because these deaths are but the tip of the iceberg of injustice that my brothers and sisters have faced. My heart breaks because my own ears have been deaf to their pleas or I have failed to recognize the depth of their pain. And for that, I am deeply sorry.
There is a disease eating away at the very fabric of American society. This disease is a scourge which allows injustice to persist unabated. It causes the very people who should lend a prophetic voice to society to make excuses for leaders at all levels who have abdicated any semblance of moral leadership. This sickness has cost us the ability to have any kind of meaningful discourse with those who think differently than we do, much less come to any kind of compromise and solution. This disease is fear. America today is a society wracked by fear and this fear is what has prevented good people from seeing the injustice around us and saying STOP! Fear mongering leaders and ratings hungry media have spread this disease, each with their own agenda and each using the same weapon at incalculable cost to the American people.
The time has come to say, NO MORE. We can do better. We can BE better. We can be known by our love, a love rooted in the love shown to us by Christ, who was willing to die Himself so that we do not have to live in fear and blindness. This is the love which calls us to:
Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.