A lot of people do in the U.S. today.
In the midst of the craziness and emotion of the political campaign in the U.S., it seemed nothing could take our minds off what the majority of people in this country believe to be an almost apocalyptic electoral scenario—Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump squaring off as the two top candidates (may I remind you they aren’t the only candidates?) for President.
Then came the news reports—disclosures of more white on black police shootings which seem (we need to remember we don’t have all the facts yet) to be without cause, resulting in the deaths of young black men. I don’t have to be black to understand how troubling this is to the black community—all I have to do is listen.
Then came Dallas.
A young black man decides he needs to shoot white men—preferably white police officers. Five killed, others—including protesters—wounded. I don’t have to be a police officer to be outraged and grieved. All I have to do is listen
And then everyone voices their opinions.
I can’t afford to become one of these people. I am here as a representative of Jesus Christ, King of Heaven and Earth. He is not happy with these sins—and He is not happy with most of the responses. Our job is not to add to the controversy. We are not to be one more voice on one side or another of this apparent divide in this nation. Our job is to represent Jesus to the people of this world and to bring reconciliation—first with God, then with one another.
How exactly do we do this? By standing with the people who are hurting. I am a white, middle class grandpa. I can’t relate to the black community, right?
Wrong. Black, or African-American people are no different than I am. If I listen to what they are saying, I don’t have to agree with their thoughts about a specific situation to understand. I just need to listen—really listen. When I do, I hear the frustration, fear, anger and commitment anyone would experience in the same circumstances.
I am a Christian minister. I can’t relate to the man or woman who puts on a badge and pledges to protect and serve the people of this country, can I? Without pretending that all police officers are perfect—or denying that racism exists systemically in many police departments across the country—I can honor the majority who are as frustrated by these shootings as I am. I can stand together with them as they do their best—human as they are—to fulfill their duty. I can be grateful for their service to me.
Most important, I can represent the King of Heaven and Earth to everyone I encounter.
This isn’t just black and white, police and civilian. This is about being human. We are all affected when any of us is targeted—for any reason. And as Christians we have the only real answer—personal surrender to Jesus himself.
This isn’t an answer for a nation, or a culture. This nation and this culture are doomed. I am not interested in trying to save them. This is an answer for individuals. As our individual lives change, so will the world we live in.