Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. When I was asked by Pastor Francis to share my thoughts on what has gripped the country in the last few months, I was initially hesitant, knowing how controversial the subject matter is. First, I am not usually one to share my feelings or opinions and secondly, I was not sure if I had enough information to adequately address the topic. In the end though, I felt that it was my responsibility to share my thoughts about what has been going on.
It has been difficult to put my thoughts, feelings, and everything else I want to express into words. In all honestly, I feel a lot of frustration and anger regarding George Floyd’s death, the aftermath, and the portrayal of police officers in general as a result. Because of that, I have struggled to write the truth in a loving manner. I am certainly not perfect, nor do I profess to have all the answers, but I know the One who is and does. I know that He is the God of Truth, that he gave us the Truth through the His Word, and that the Truth frees us from the tyranny of sin. I pray that it is through a Biblical lens that I now write to you and that it is through a Biblical lens, with grace, that you read these words.
If you knew me as a teenager or young adult, you would probably never have thought that I would become a police officer. In fact, some of you who know me now are probably wondering to yourselves, “how can that guy be a police officer?!?” The truth is, I had no desire to be a police officer growing up. I had my share of brushes with the law mostly resulting in some sort of traffic violation; I even almost got arrested once (funny story). Rodney King, the resulting riots, the O.J. Simpson case and the Rampart corruption scandal were fresh on my mind; needless to say, I did not think particularly highly of cops. So, when my friend Francis Chung suggested that we go apply to the police department, I was indifferent. But, just as He does now, God used Francis to speak to me. Ironically, I went on to do it and Francis did not as he followed a higher call.
I have been a police officer for over twenty-two years now and as a result, God has blessed me immensely. I even met my wife in the process. I have had the opportunity to work a variety of assignments, including patrol, traffic, detectives, gangs, and internal affairs just to name a few. I have worked the most menial assignments to assignments that have given me a peek into the inner workings of my department at the highest levels. I have seen and experienced much in my two decades as an officer, but it did not prepare me for the change in thought and attitude towards the police as a result of what has transpired over these last few months. Although much of what is being written and spoken about law enforcement has been overwhelmingly negative, I truly believe that most people still value and support the police. I especially want to thank and acknowledge the people who reached out to me personally when the protests began to offer encouragement, support and prayers for my well-being.
Law enforcement can be a thankless profession, and police officers are often taken for granted by people until they are needed, so it was comforting to hear from people in a time where my profession, and by extension, I personally, was being attacked and vilified. I absolutely want to acknowledge that there are bad police officers; men and women who have abused their power and authority, committed crimes, and do not deserve to wear a badge. Some of them were bad people (by the world’s definition) before they became police officers and some of them made bad choices and “became” bad people after becoming police officers. The truth is that like all of us, police officers are all sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God. Still, as much as it has been said, it bears repeating that most police officers (again, by the world’s standards) are good and honest people trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately, you would not know it as the most common story you will find in the news is when a police officer is accused of committing a crime or some other misconduct. Such has been the case with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Michael Brown to name a few. In each of these incidents, the police have been portrayed as the villains, with each incident being offered as proof of the systematic racism that plagues law enforcement and every other aspect of the government. It is a narrative that is being forced down the country’s throat whether you agree with it or not.
Police work is not pretty, and it is not for the faint of heart. One of the basic functions of police work is enforcing the law. Enforcing the law often involves preventing people from breaking rules that they have no desire to follow. Sometimes, all it takes is a verbal command, but sometimes it takes more. That is the daily reality of police work. Something an officer must be prepared for every time he or she puts on the uniform. It is probably not something the average person thinks about when they see a police officer on the street, so understandably there is a disconnect. I remember that feeling when I was applying to various departments. During one of my interviews, I was asked how I would handle a scenario that went something like this:
You are working patrol and received a radio call of a domestic violence incident where a man is assaulting a woman; the caller is a child.
The location is in a remote part of the City.
Back-up is at least ten minutes away.
You arrive at the location, step out of your car to investigate and see a man on the porch with two young children.
He tells you that you are not welcome on his property and tells you to leave.
What do you do?
I remember the question so vividly because afterwards, I realized how unprepared I was for that situation; how completely ignorant of what police work required. I remember being so naïve and ignorant of life outside my bubble, having grown up in the church, in a relatively middle-class environment.
I thought that the right words could diffuse any situation. The scenario escalated in seconds, going from being relatively benign, to the man suddenly pulling out a gun and threatening to shoot the kids if I did not leave. My response was to pull out my gun, answer that I would not leave and keep trying to convince him to put his gun down so we could figure out a solution. Without a word, the man answered by shooting one kid and then turning his gun on the other. He told me to drop my gun and leave. When I refused, he shot the second kid.
As you might have guessed, I was not hired by that department. If I were to answer that question now, I would confidently say that as soon as the man pulled his gun out and pointed it at one of the kids, I would have shot him. I would have shot him because I was in fear for the safety of the children as well as myself and to stop the threat. I would not have waited for him to shoot one of the kids first or shoot at me first because I know how dangerous and life threating anyone with a gun can be.
The fact is that there are times when force is the only option to resolve a situation and save lives. Sometimes force must be used quickly and decisively to prevent additional danger to everyone involved. Those are the split-second choices that police officers must make.
Most of the time, those choices work out, but sometimes, they do not. That is the lens through which police officers view the world. The knowledge that at any moment, in the blink of an eye, life can change. It is a difficult way to live and interact with people, especially if you have nothing else anchoring your life like a personal relationship with Jesus.
Unfortunately, like much of the world, most police officers do not know Jesus, so their police experiences are not tempered by the grace and mercy found in Christ. Without it, many officers can become cynical, untrusting, and hardened towards the people they encounter. It is what happens when a majority of the people you meet lie to you, want to hurt you, or worse yet, want you dead. When you are indoctrinated with the idea that everyone you meet is a suspect, you start to see everything around you as suspicious.
When I was a rookie, one of the most common pieces of advice I heard was not to get married until I had been a cop for at least five years. The reason given was that police work always changes you. Over my career, I have seen first-hand how this happens. Police work has the power to change a person’s life, but that power is not greater than the life changing power of the Gospel. Police work has changed me personally, but the Gospel has changed me more in addition to keeping me anchored, and for that I am grateful.
Aside from sharing my experiences as a police officer, I was specifically asked to address the George Floyd incident as it has been the catalyst for the recent unrest in the world.
My first reaction to seeing the video is that it looked wrong. As a police officer, I was never taught to place my knee on someone’s neck for any amount of time for any reason. The fact that Derek Chauvin did so for almost nine minutes was really, quite disturbing.
As a police officer, I also know that things are not always what they appear, and whether wrong or right, there are always two sides to the story. As I looked closer at the limited footage that was being circulated, I noticed some things about the scene. I saw that Chauvin’s badge appeared to be askew, and that he did not have a body camera on him where one would normally be. This led me to believe that there was some sort of struggle where Chauvin’s badge was displaced and his body camera (which is held on magnetically) may have been knocked off.
Still, given the limited context, I did not know if the force being used by the officers, was justified or if it was excessive. From experience, I know that sometimes, when an officer has been in a pursuit or a fight with a suspect, an officer may tend to be rougher than is necessary when taking them into custody. That is certainly not right, but it is a normal human reaction that can result from the adrenaline and emotional stress of that kind of situation.
As police officers, we are constantly reminded to control our emotions in those kinds of situations so that we do not lose control, but some are better at it than others. That is why sometimes, police officers can seem cold or uncaring when they deal with suspects; balancing control of your emotions versus being emotionless is not always easy.
As more information about the incident came out, I learned that at the time, the Minneapolis Police Department Use of Force Policy allowed for an officer to place their knee on a suspect’s neck who is resisting arrest. That being the case, once the officers can control the suspect or the suspect stops resisting, the force being used should stop, which in Chauvin’s case, clearly did not.
Besides the fact that Floyd died in police custody, what I find most troubling is that based on limited video and information available, all the participants have already been judged in the court of social media. George Floyd has been judged to be a martyr, police officers as a whole are deemed racists, and that the system is inherently racist. He has had murals painted of him and memorials erected to celebrate his life. He has even had multiple scholarships named after him. Meanwhile, the officers involved have been fired from their jobs and charged with murder of various degrees. They along with every other police officer have been verbally and physically attacked, vilified, and devalued as human beings. The legal right to be presumed “innocent until proven guilty” applies to everyone except those police officers.
Certainly, everyone, including me, is going to come to their own conclusions based on the information they have and the evidence they have seen, and the most watched piece of evidence so far has been the footage recorded on cellphone cameras by witnesses. There is however, more to the story, and to make a judgement based on limited information when you know there is more information yet to be revealed is both irresponsible and disingenuous. That is one of the reasons I struggled while writing this article. There were just too many things that I did not know about the incident, and even less about the people involved.
Just a couple of days ago, the body camera footage of the incident from three of the officers involved was released. The footage was uncut and showed what happened from beginning to end. It provided me with more context to the incident which I would like to share with you. I will also share how officers are trained to handle certain things that happen in the video and my opinions of what I saw.
This is not to say that the officers acted the way they did specifically because of their training, but I want to give you a different perspective. The videos begin with Officers Lane and Keung arriving at the store where Floyd used a “fake” bill. They speak with the store manager who points out Floyd as being the suspect. Additional information from the 911 call includes that Floyd is “awfully drunk” and “not in control of himself.” As the officers approach Floyd’s car, Lane can be heard saying, “They’re moving around a lot.” (I think this statement is indicative of the officer’s mindset that there is a potential threat in the car. Officers are trained to view car stops as inherently dangerous because visibility is low and there are so many ways to hide dangerous objects inside.)
The two officers approach Floyd’s car, with Lane on the driver side and Keung on the passenger side. Lane taps on the window, which seems to surprise Floyd, and tells him “Let me see your hands.” (Police officers are trained to look at the hands because most of the time, that is where the threat is going to come from.) Floyd does not immediately comply and starts talking a lot.
It also looks like he is reaching down for something with his right hand. (Officers are trained that suspects can sometimes try to distract them or get their guard down by talking a lot while reaching for a weapon.) Lane draws his gun and points it at Floyd repeating his command to see his hands. (Lane is clearly frustrated that Floyd is not complying and possibly feels threatened by that and the fact that he cannot see Floyd’s other hand. An officer’s decision to draw their gun is based on their perception of a threat.) Floyd continues to talk a lot and after a brief time, complies by putting his hands on the steering wheel.
(At this point, I would like to share from personal experience that time feels a lot different when you are involved in an incident compared to when you watch a video of it later. It may have only been less than a minute that Floyd kept his hand out of sight, but it can feel a lot longer when an officer does not know what is in his hand. That might explain the quickness with which Lane drew his gun.)
Lane tries to handcuff Floyd and take him into custody, but Floyd resists. As Lane struggles with Floyd, Keung comes around the car and helps Lane. The officers can be heard telling Floyd to “stop resisting,” and then they are able to handcuff Floyd.
All the while, Floyd is talking and resisting. This is also the first time that Floyd drops his body weight to the ground, a passive form of resistance which makes it difficult for officers to control him, especially given his size.
(It is interesting to note that as the officers are telling Floyd to stop resisting, he responds to them by saying that he “is not.” I point that out because it is obvious in the video that the officers are struggling to take him into custody and are unable to do it easily because Floyd is moving around. This either means that Floyd is outright lying about resisting, or that he does not even realize that his struggle against the officers is resisting.)
Once he is in custody, the officers split their attention, with Keung focusing on talking to Floyd, while Lane speaks with the other two occupants of the vehicle. (Most likely, the officers only handcuffed Floyd because he was the only one identified as a suspect at the time. In my Department, all three of the occupants of the vehicle would have been handcuffed while the officers conducted their investigation. Later on in the video, after Floyd is taken from the scene, as Keung tries to complete his investigation, the manager of the store seems to say that one of the other occupants in the car had also tried to use a fake bill, but it was not accepted, which is still a crime.)
At this time, Keung tells Floyd why he is being arrested. (I have seen reports in the media that Floyd was not told why he was being arrested until much later, seemingly to imply that had they explained to him what was going on, he might have voluntarily complied. This is clearly not true as he was told from the onset what he was being arrested for.) After speaking with the other occupants of the vehicle, the officers decide to place Floyd in the back of their patrol vehicle. At this point, they ask Floyd if he is under the influence of something, to which Floyd replies, “No.” (This was clearly a lie as the medical examiner’s report indicated that Floyd was under the influence of Fentanyl and Methamphetamines at the time of his death. Some of the effects of Fentanyl include confusion, problems breathing, stiff or rigid muscles and slowed heartbeat, while Methamphetamines produce similar affects as well as feelings of confusion and paranoia. All these symptoms appear to be present during Floyds interaction with the police.) As the officers walk Floyd across the street where their car is parked, Floyd continues to plead incoherently with the officers.
When they reach the police car, Floyd again resists by dropping his weight to the ground. For the next five minutes, three officers struggle to try to get Floyd into the back of the police car. During the struggle, Floyd can be heard saying that he is claustrophobic, that he has had COVID, and that he could not breathe. This was prior to the officers being on top of him. At one point, they are able to get him partially into the car, but as officers opened the door on the other side to help pull him in further, he kicks his way out the other side telling them that he wants to lay on the ground.
(Looking at the video, some people might say that the officers should have just stopped trying to force him into the car. Floyd said that he was claustrophobic and that he couldn’t breathe. Perhaps he was struggling so hard because he really was claustrophobic. Perhaps they should have just taken a break and waited until he calmed down and tried again. Unfortunately, police officers working patrol seldom have the luxury of time. Police are trained to “ask, tell, do.” That means they ask a suspect to comply voluntarily. If that doesn’t work, they give the suspect an order to comply. Finally, if that does not work, they will force the suspect to comply.)
The officers continue to struggle with Floyd, and finally decide to control him using their body weight. (Based on what I saw in the video, the force they used up to this point was completely appropriate. Some might say that the officers even acted with restraint. They tried everything in their power to get him into the police car but were unable to.) After the officers put him on the ground, he continues to struggle by kicking his legs.
It is at this point that Chauvin puts his knee on Floyd’s neck, while Lane and Keung control his lower body. Once Floyd is under control, Lane can be heard requesting an ambulance for Floyd because he was bleeding from his mouth. And then they wait. They wait as Floyd continues to yell that he cannot breathe. They wait as he slowly stops struggling, as he stops speaking and ultimately as his heart stops. They wait until the ambulance arrives and begins treatment. Officer Lane gets into the ambulance with the paramedics and they drive away because of a hostile crowd that has gathered at the scene.
(It is hard to fault the crowd that gathered to witness what was going on. These were concerned citizens, who stopped to watch and comment on something that they inherently recognized as being wrong.
My point in commenting on this is that even when people think they are doing the right thing, sometimes it does not help the situation. It was right for them to say something because they could clearly see that Floyd was in distress, but the way that they tried to intervene made them a distraction more than a help. They became an “issue” requiring the attention of one of the officers; an added stress to an already stressful situation. Watching the video and knowing the outcome, it is easy for me to say that the officers should have listened to the crowd and gotten Floyd off the ground. Being in that situation is another story.)
In the ambulance, Lane attempts to assist the paramedic with medical treatment. While the paramedic is setting up a machine to perform CPR on Floyd, Lane performs chest compressions and checks Floyds airways. Meanwhile back at the scene, the remaining officers gather themselves, and then Keung continues his investigation. (There is no indication in any of the video that race played a factor in anything the officers did. Nothing was said about Floyd’s race. In fact, very little was said at all by the officers aside from commands to stop resisting. The officers remained calm and professional given the circumstances. Their actions after the incident do not represent murderers or even police who wished harm upon Floyd. They represented men who were trying to do their jobs, and in Lane’s case, a man who was trying to help save Floyd’s life.)
Clearly though, the perception is that the officers did something wrong. Even though I personally do not agree with the officers’ actions (again, easy to say after the fact), I think that there is a reasonable argument that can be made that they did not use excessive force. There is a possibility that George Floyd would have died even if he did not have a knee on his neck. Based on the video, there is no way of telling how much pressure was being put on Floyd’s neck.
Throughout most of the video while Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck, he (Floyd) can be heard yelling continuously. He was getting enough air to yell and struggle, and that struggle obviously took a toll on his body. The mitigating factor was that Floyd was under the influence of drugs which by itself can tax the body. Factor in the struggle that occurred prior and there is a possibility that his body would have given out regardless of the circumstance. That is something we will never know because the officers chose the course of action they did. Chauvin chose to put his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.
Lane spoke up about moving Floyd onto his side multiple times but did not press the issue enough. Both Keung and Lane deferred to Chauvin’s experience and allowed him to make the decision to keep Floyd where he was.
The big question is why Chauvin decided to follow that course of action. There are many possibilities.
- He could be a racist, but so far, neither video of the incident or any other evidence has been offered to support that contention.
- He could be a jerk and wanted Floyd to suffer a little bit for “contempt of cop.”
- It could have been that he had a bad day or just gotten into a fight with his wife and did not “have his head 100% in the game.”
- Probably the least popular option is that he was an experienced officer that judged the situation based on his training and experience, did not believe that Floyd was claustrophobic, or that he couldn’t breathe and applied what he believed to be the appropriate amount of force given the situation.
Most likely, it is a combination of those things and a myriad of other factors. We may never know. In that way, justice may never be truly served.
There are other incidents that have been lumped together with George Floyd as examples of the systemic problems in the country. Breonna Taylor for example has been cited as more proof of police brutality and racist system. I have a hard time understanding this viewpoint given the facts of the case. Was an innocent person shot and killed by the police? Yes. Was it because she was Black? No. This was a case where at face value, everyone did what they were supposed to do. The officers were serving a search warrant at Taylor’s house for narcotics evidence. Everyone knows that serving a warrant is a dangerous activity. Many officers have been killed while doing so. Anyone who has worked narcotics also knows that when the police come to a narcotics suspect’s home, they will try to destroy evidence before the police can get to it. As with all warrant service and especially narcotics warrants, the element of surprise is an essential component to a successful warrant service.
In this case the officers (under the authority of the court) kicked down Taylor’s door to serve the warrant. They were shot at, and in fear for their safety, shot back, killing Taylor. Again, they were legally justified to enter her residence, and after being shot at themselves, were legally justified to return fire. It was Taylor’s boyfriend who shot at the officers first, although he said that he did not know they were police officers. Certainly, given the circumstance, he was within his rights to shoot if there was an intruder breaking into his home, just as the officers, were within their rights to fire back.
This was a case where it appears that no one did anything wrong, but there are still consequences. Granted, in every situation, there could have been things done better, or at least differently, but I do not mean this in a callous way, the bottom line is that things happen in a fallen and sinful world. This by no means lessens the tragic loss of Taylor’s life, but to try and use this incident as an example of police brutality or racism is unfair and a gross oversimplification of the circumstances.
When people try to paint these issues with the broad brush of systemic racism as the underlying problem of all society’s problems, it takes away the need for personal responsibility. The idea that we are responsible for the choices we make as well as being on the hook for the consequences of those choices. The outcomes may not always be equal, but that does not lessen our responsibility.
If someone chooses to rob a business and then chooses to fight the police when they arrive, they are responsible for the outcome of any legally allowed response by the police. This is a concept that is lost on many today as people are looking for excuses for why we should not be held responsible for our actions.
The counter point is that this applies to police officers as well, and I would whole-heartedly agree. If a police officer decides to rob a store and then tries to fight with responding police officers sent to stop him, he is responsible for the outcome of any legally allowed response by the police. However, then the police are lawfully doing their job trying to stop a criminal from committing a crime, and the suspect gets hurt or killed, the person responsible is and should be the suspect.
The Bible tells us that man’s heart is prone to evil (Genesis 8:21). Coupled with the American exaltation of individual rights and the entitlement celebrated now, it has become increasingly difficult for police officers to do their job. There is inherent conflict that comes with policing and whenever two or more sinners are in conflict, there is a potential for disaster. The protests against police brutality and systematic racism are no different. Many people came out to passionately protest such injustices. The irony is that no one is for police brutality, and no one took the position that police brutality is right. If anything, there has been a pendulum swing in the other direction to identify incidents as police brutality when it is not.
I have not experienced institutional or systematic racism. I personally have not been given or denied a position or promotion because of my race (except the one time I worked Asian Crimes, but I think that was because they needed someone to blend in with other Asians while working undercover and could speak the language). As far as the criminal justice system being inherently racist, resulting in a disproportionate number of minorities being incarcerated and falsely convicted, that has not been my experience either. Certainly, there have been people who have been wrongly convicted, but those are the exceptions and not the rule.
Anyone involved in the criminal justice system knows that the “system” is flawed, and there are things that need to be changed; just ask anyone who has been a victim of a crime waiting for justice to be served. There are more guilty defendants who “get away” with their crimes than innocent defendants who get falsely convicted. This will always happen because our justice system is not only designed to hold the criminal accountable, but it is also designed to ensure that the innocent is not falsely convicted. The fact that false convictions occur is not indicative of racism or bias, it is indicative of fallen, imperfect people.
In my experience, I have not worked with or seen racist officers looking for minorities to falsely accuse or brutalize. In every assignment I have ever worked, I was surrounded by regular people just like you and me. People of faith, people with families and people that loved them, people with struggles and fears, people who were really good at what they do and some people who were bad at it too.
That is not to say that racist police officers or police brutality does not exist at all. Those things will always exist because people are sinful. My department’s (as well as most police departments) response systemically, is when those engaged in racially biased policing or excessive force are discovered, they are disciplined or even fired as appropriate. I know this having worked Internal Affairs. The misconception is that it is norm and not the exception. That is simply not true.
The truth is despite the small percentage of police contacts which bias might be a factor or that result in some sort of excessive force, most departments have already incorporated increased programs, policies and training to address and prevent these things from happening. That is what made the protests so frustrating for me as I experienced it from both close up and far away; everyday, people came out to fill the streets, yelling profanities about the police, trying to “disrupt” the status quo, all in the name of protesting a false narrative. At the same time, every able-bodied police officer in the city, the very people who were being vilified, were required to work 14-hour shifts without a day off for over two weeks, all to ensure that people’s Constitutional Rights to peacefully assemble were protected. The irony of the situation did not escape me.
As frustrating as working the protests was for me, more frustrating was the mainstream acceptance of the organization behind the protests. Even among members of the church, ideology that is diametrically opposed to Christianity and the Biblical values we should hold fast to was being embraced and promoted in the name of justice.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death, Black Lives Matter (BLM) has ridden the public outcry into mainstream acceptance. The organization was formed in response to the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a young black man, by George Zimmerman, a man described by BLM as being “white passing.” Although there was no evidence that the shooting was racially motivated, and in fact, the evidence was consistent with Zimmerman shooting Martin in self- defense, this incident became a rallying cry by BLM as proof of the pervasive racism in America. Even though the facts of the case bore no evidence to show that race played a factor at all, BLM continues to perpetuate this false narrative. Since then, their focus has shifted from racism, to police brutality, to various other social causes, all the while pushing any version of what happened to fit with their narrative, in true political fashion.
BLM is a prime example of the need to heed Paul’s warning in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 of people not “enduring sound teaching,” but having “itching ears,” people will “turn away from the truth.” BLM pushes agendas and ideologies that are in stark contrast to Scripture. Some examples of these ideologies in their own words are, to “…do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege…” and “…disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure…” as well as to “…foster a queer‐affirming network…” gathering to “…do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).”
Make no mistake, BLM is overtly anti-Christian. They seek to tear down the institutions that were put into place by God, be it marriage, the family unit, or government. They stand against Christian principles like authority, submission, and hierarchy. BLM claims to “…acknowledge, respect, and celebrate differences and commonalities,” but, those words are not actually put into practice. The recent examples of anyone voicing an opinion, ideology or agenda contrary to BLM is swiftly and unconditionally “canceled” into silence. There is no dialogue, or conversation, just an ultimatum to pledge allegiance to the cause or face the consequences. Like a child throwing a tantrum in public, holding their parent hostage, BLM will scream, shout, yell and pout until they get their way. Very few are willing to take a stand against them, but the ones who do will surely suffer the consequences. This strategy is the antithesis of the Biblical command to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). In reality, the tactics employed by BLM do not serve to resolve conflict, heal wounds, nor promote unity. Instead they cause further division and increase discord.
Because Black lives matter, there are ways that we as Christians can support our Black and Brown brothers and sisters without joining ourselves to this anti-Christian organization. We can speak the truth with love and kindness to one another and work together to preach the Gospel to the lost. We may not be able to reach as wide an audience, but we can make a more lasting impact on those in our circle of influence.
The extreme ideologies and the methodology employed by BLM is not the solution, because the real problem is not racially motivated, gender related, political, socio-economic, cultural, or systematic. Police brutality does not exist because of racism and crime does not exist because of systemic inequality.
The problem is the human heart, and as well-meaning as the BLM movement may or may not be, it does not have the power to change the human heart or address the underlying issue at hand; sin. Racism, prejudice, inequality, hate, pride and crime in general are heart issues. They cannot be solved with policies, movements, or protests. They cannot be solved by elevating marginalized people, canceling dissenting voices, nor destroying property.
The only solution to sin is the life changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why no group outside of the church can fix the problem because no group outside of the church has Christ or the Gospel. As long as there is sin, there will be injustice; there will be hate; there will be inequality; there will be crime; and there will be conflict.
Human worth is defined by the truth that people are created in the image of God. When we value or devalue ourselves and others by any standard other than that, we are deceived. The diversity of race, culture, and gender in God’s creation ceases to be a characteristic that strengthens us and instead, becomes a line that divides us. It is not an oversimplification to say that sin is the root of all the problems in the world, whether it is racism, hate, or injustice. As such, the answer to these problems is not more funding for social programs, institutional reforms or increased education. These are just bandages, temporary treatments for the symptoms of a fallen world. The only lasting solution to the problem of sin is the heart changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As Christians, our primary goal should not be peace or justice here on earth. Instead it should be glorifying Jesus Christ by proclaiming the Gospel to all peoples so they can be convicted by the Holy Spirit. Only then will dead, unregenerate, and rebellious hearts be transformed into ones that recognize and submit to the sovereignty of God and embrace His Word; only then will the sinners’ eyes be opened to the infinite beauty and value of our Lord Jesus Christ; and only then will the possibility of peace, equality and justice exist on earth. That will not happen though because the earth is not our home, and one of the reasons that suffering, striving, and conflict exists is to create a longing for heaven and eternity with God.
True justice can only be found in heaven. If we somehow think otherwise, we will always be left unsatisfied. That is not to say that we should not pursue justice or peace, but as Christians, in all things, we need to have a perspective based on Scriptural truth. As God’s children, even as we look forward to eternity, we are instructed in the present to submit to rulers and authorities and to be obedient, (Titus 3:1), as there is no authority except from God and those that exist have been instituted by God, (Romans 13:1). We know that God is sovereign, the ultimate Righteous Judge and that he will bring justice to the oppressed. Our responsibility in this world is not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good, (Romans 12:19). Brothers and sisters, let us cling fast to the hope we have in Christ even in the midst of the storm; only then can we experience peace in an uncertain time. Only then can we forgive each other’s trespasses, and only then can we show grace to those that hate us.
I realize that there will be people who read this and disagree with me completely. I know that there are people who have had different experiences than me and see the world in a far different way because of those experiences. Despite that, I do hope that if you are a Bible believing Christian who has submitted your life to the sovereignty and Lordship of Christ, you will consider my words as an honest and genuine viewpoint based on my own personal experience, but more importantly, based on Scripture. I am willing to hear arguments from different viewpoints and encourage open dialogue and if I am wrong about something, I am open to correction. Peace to all of you.