By the time you read this issue I hope and pray that the situation in Ferguson, Mo., has quieted down. The fatal shooting of a young man by a police officer and the events that followed caused Ferguson to become somewhat of a battleground for several days. The shooting of the unarmed teenager is now the subject of a grand jury. Unless a person was present and witnessed the incident, it’s impossible to know with certainty what actually happened. For that reason, I won’t make a judgment on what happened or why it happened. I refuse to judge either the police officer or the young man who died. I do know, however, that others are and they have a right to do so.
I fully support the rights of persons to assemble and demonstrate. However, I cannot condone the violence and criminal activity that became a part of what should have been peaceful demonstrations in Ferguson. It’s my hope and prayer that the criminal justice system will function properly and will find out exactly what happened on the night of the shooting. It is up to those in positions of authority to make sure that the system works fairly and justly. But regardless, we must all take a look at the strained racial relations in our country.
This incident, and especially that which occurred in the following days in Ferguson, should make all of us realize that we have to deal with a most serious issue in the United States of America. Racial relations are not what they should be. Unfortunately, the racial divisions in America were growing wider long before the incident at Ferguson.
There is still racial prejudice in this country and that is a crying shame. We must take steps to bring folks together. People of faith have a direct responsibility to work in harmony to bring about better relations between whites and blacks. We are all God’s children and we cannot be happy with the manner in which we on occasion treat each other. As the title of the song that I mentioned several days back says, “Why can’t all of God’s children get along.” The sad truth is that we simply don’t get along as we must as followers of Jesus Christ. I have to believe that we get along, but it will require individuals to have a change of heart.
It’s been decades since a 1963 march on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered. Have we as a nation lived up to Dr. King’s vision of a land where each person would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin? If asked, how would you answer that query?
Dr. King’s message was based on love, which can overcome hate, and non-violence. Our need for Jesus is truly the great equalizer of the races. Regardless of the color of our skin, we all are sinners in need of a savior. We all stand before God – not on the basis of racial identity – but on our true and unbridled love for Jesus. All of the races of the world – all of the cultures of the world – need the same Savior and His name is Jesus. So I ask this question: “Why can’t all God’s children get along?”
My prayer is that Christian brothers and sisters – of all colors, black, brown, red, yellow and white – will find in their hearts a sincere desire to get along! The following scriptures will help each of us put things in the proper perspective.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10
Finally, with all of the problems facing the United States of America – both at home and abroad, consider how great it would be to have a nation that is totally united, working with a common purpose for the public good. If that could happen just imagine how things would be. My prayer is that it will come about.
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