A black man working as a therapist at a group home watching an autistic man was shot by police in Florida while trying to get the autistic man back to the group home. You can hear his story here.
This story hits home for a few reasons. One is that my sister does a very similar thing as this man does. And two is that this is yet another incident that fits into the surging storyline of blacks being treated unfairly by police.
I want to begin by saying a few things. First, I am not anti-police at all. I respect the men and women who put on bullet-proof vests daily in the service of their communities. These men and women deserve respect and honor. Secondly, the murder of police officers that we've seen lately is abhorrent. Thirdly, I am not going to claim to understand all that is going on in this storyline nor will I pretend to know all the answers. There are a lot of factors conflating this issue from lack of respect for authority to blatant racism. Policemen and women are generally honorable but the profession, like all professions is not free of sin. And certainly not every black man shot by police has been an innocent victim, but more than a few have.
I believe that these situations are causing us to have a good discussion about racism.
Everyone seems to be offering their opinion about racism in this country. For better or for worse, recently our dialog has been about black men getting shot by police, police getting shot by madmen or Pokemon Go (because we desire one meaningless topic in a dark world).
This discussion reminds me of a story told about the great Catholic writer G. K. Chesterton. According to the story, the London Times ask influential authors to answer the question "What is wrong with the world today?" A variety of answers were given but Chesterton is alleged to have responded, "Dear Sirs, I am. Sincerely, G. K. Chesterton."
I feel that needs to be my response for who's responsible for the racism in the world today.
"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7:5
Of course, there needs to be actions taken on a grand scale to end racism in our world and specifically in our country, but I need to remove the racist log from my own eye. See, I'm not a Klansman but I've got prejudices in my eye that must be removed. For instance, ashamedly I admit that I react differently internally to a young white man walking by me in the dark with a hoodie on than I do a young black man in the same outfit. I have prejudicial tendencies in my own heart that need to be extricated. I need to mortify the sin in my own life first. I hate that I have this sin in me and I must fight it to the death.
Gandhi famously said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Too often we don't do this. We instead take to removing the speck from our brother's eye while explaining away the log in ours. This does not mean that we are to be OK with sin that exists outside of ourselves, but the first sin that needs to die is our own! George W. Bush recently said in Dallas, "Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions."
I long for a New Heaven and New Earth where racism is a memory and police work is a non-necessity in a sinless society. I long for the day when Jesus eliminates all sin, but until then I must face the ugliness that exists in me and I must purge it from me.
Hate racism, remove the racist log from your own eye today.