Dear God, I’m very nonplussed as to how to respond to what is going on around me. Every impulse feels wrong. I even tried to spend some time singing some worship songs to you today, but even that felt hollow. Where are you in all of this?
I guess it might be good to start to define what “this” is. What is happening that I’m feeling like demands my response?
- Yes, George Floyd was killed, but that’s a tragic symptom of a greater problem. So what is that problem?
- It could be just pure racism. Yes, maybe that police officer and his four fellow officers wouldn’t have killed that man if he had been white or Hispanic. There is certainly statistical evidence to suggest that black men are killed more by police than are white men.
- But is it more complicated than that. Is racism only part of the cocktail? Is there also trauma on the part of the officers? Fatigue? Psychological disorders brought on my stress? I’m sure that officer didn’t wake up that morning thinking he was going to kill a man–a black man–that day. But he snapped and he did.
- I have not heard what Mr. Floyd did to get arrested in the first place. Funny, but that has all been lost in the reporting.
- I just took a moment to look this up. Here is what I found on ABC News: George Floyd, 46, is arrested shortly after 8 p.m. after allegedly using a fake $20 bill at a local Cup Foods. He dies while in police custody.
- So did Mr. Floyd consciously know he was passing a fake $20 bill, or had it been passed to him and he was just using it? Did he resist arrest? Did he mouth off? I don’t know. Regardless, I stand by my statement that I’m sure the officer involved didn’t wake up that morning expecting to get to kill a man–a black man–that day.
- Protestors gather to call attention to the continued inequality in injustice that black people, particularly men, experience at the hands of law enforcement.
- What I perceive to be a small fraction become violent, destructive and criminal.
- Most just want things to change. I’m not sure they know how to affect change, but they want change. I saw Floyd Landis talking about how to clean up cycling and the doping that’s so pervasive in it. He said that he didn’t know how to do it. I feel the same way about healthcare in this country. I can describe the problems a lot better than I can develop any solutions.
- Government officials have tried to respond.
- President Trump has taken the authoritarian approach, in essence telling the mayors and governors around the country, “Control the protestors/rioters, or I’ll control them for you.” And I’m not even going to go into the controversy of how he handled the photo-op at the church.
- Mayors have taken different approaches, as have governors.
- Local law enforcement has had to figure out how to follow the orders of their leaders while still balancing that with their own conscience. Sometimes they’ve done great and sometimes they’ve failed. The news only seems to report the times they failed.
- Everyone has taken a side and dug in.
- Okay, maybe not everyone, but it sure feels that way. And this is where social media, the strategic outside influence of other nations trying to undermine our society, and the hypocrisy in all of us comes out. For the most part, the original issue of Mr. Floyd being needlessly murdered and what it says about the injustice to black people and other minorities is getting lost. Somehow, it has become about people either attacking or defending President Trump. And I think he puts himself out front to invite that kind of response.
- I guess what frustrates me about this part is the hypocrisy. People don’t seem to realize that if President Trump had a “D” next to his name then all of a sudden, nearly across the board, his defenders would become his attackers, and his attackers would rally to defend him. In terms of the forceful clearing of protestors from the park so he could walk to the front of a church to take a picture with a Bible, if Nancy Pelosi or President Obama had done it, those defending struggling to defend President Trump would completely attack them, and those attacking would try to find a defense for them.
So what is my response to all of this? What is my personal, private response? And is there a place for me to have a public response? Are there actions I should be taking?
My personal response is to grieve for Mr. Floyd, his family, and everyone they represent. They have experienced injustice not only from their fellow citizens, but their government as well. It is undeniable when you look at the numbers. Black people especially suffer in our country like no other ethnic group, and the reasons for that are more than I can list here. My heart is heavy for them, Father. My heart is truly heavy for them. Please help.
My other personal response is on behalf of law enforcement. They have been tasked with an untenable job. I know I couldn’t do it, and I don’t know that I would respond like I would hope I would if I did try it. They have to walk into situations every day that I don’t want any part of. They have to see the worst part of our society multiple times every day. They risk their lives every time they do something as simple as pull someone over. And then they have to deal with the mentally ill because our society doesn’t have any other answer. My heart is heavy for them, Father. My heart is truly heavy for them. Please help.
I don’t know that there is anything I can do about leadership or campaigning for different political candidates so I’m not going to consider that, but you know what we need. You know who we need. Maybe what we need is to sink so low that we have nowhere to look but you. Oh, how bad will hitting bottom look like before we turn as a nation to you? My heart is heavy for our leadership situation, Father. My heart is truly heavy for all of our leaders. Please help.
Finally, for our society. We are losing this battle against divisiveness. Friends are becoming enemies and assuming the worst in each other. Lies are spread as truth, and our enemies, from Satan to foreign nations, encourage it all. They delight in all of this. They delight in us tearing each other apart, calling each other names. They don’t even care which side in particular wins a particular battle. It’s all about the war to them, and they can see it moving in their favor. United we stand and divided we fall. My heart is heavy over all of this, Father. My heart is truly heavy. Please help.
With all of that said, my personal response is to spend more time praying for all of this. As for my public response, I promise to not get out ahead of you. Please guide me in your love, Holy Spirit.
In Jesus’s name I pray because it is through him and his power that I have hope and a pathway to you,