If you’ve been breathing the past two days, you’ve heard about the most recent decisions in Ferguson. The Internet has blown up with people tweeting and sharing their opinions, either infuriated by the decision or in support of Wilson’s testimony. People are hurting.
We live in a world where racial injustice still exists. Young black men often still live in fear in a way that I have never experienced. People’s businesses are being burned to the ground in light of the grand jury decisions. Police officers have to fear their lives as they try to bring about protection and peace to their cities.
We live in a broken world.
I’m not interested in talking about whether the Grand Jury decision was right or wrong. But I am interested in talking the implications this has for us as Christians.
President Obama suggested, "The problem is not a Ferguson problem; it is an American problem.” I think it’s bigger than that. It’s a humanity problem. The riots, the shootings, the racial tensions, and the lack of trust in the system is the symptom of a much deeper problem.
Things are not the way they are supposed to be. And people don’t know how to respond to this broken world.
Darkness is overwhelming a city. There is a darkness that exists in the racism that still takes place in this depraved and broken world. Ferguson showcases just how dark this world is. Suffering, especially when fueled by issues of race, is an especially painful and difficult darkness to walk in. Even if Officer Wilson’s shooting is him simply doing his job, the reaction of the country make it clear that a lot of people are hurting.
"Some need to spend less time insisting that African Americans shouldn't be upset and spend more time asking why some are." - Ed Stetzer's post, A Decision in Ferguson
What do we do in the midst of the darkness?
Martin Luther King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
In the midst of the dark cloud that hangs over our country, what hope can be found in the midst of this kind of suffering? When families have to worry about their loved ones because of their job, where they live, or the color of their skin, what words of hope can give us something to hold onto?
Darkness doesn’t win. Evil doesn’t win. This tragedy will not win.
In the face of the great pain, God is hidden at work. When we are driven to our knees, the God who seems distant is actually present with us. When it seems like the world has turned against us, God is fighting for us. And when it seems like the accuser wants to destroy us, Christ himself stands in our place.
God cares more.
God knows more.
God does more.
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” - John 1:5
No amount of darkness, no matter how dark it is, can overcome the light. The light breaks in speaks Hope in a time when people feel hopeless. The light breaks in a brings life when people are losing theirs. And the light brings peace when peace doesn’t seem possible.
"The good news is that violence and distrust and animosity are not the last word. Christ, the Word made flesh who dwelt among us, full of grace and truth and life and salvation; Christ, whose death atoned for the sins of all humanity and whose resurrection trampled sin and Satan; Christ, the Prince of Peace—Christ gets the last Word.” - LCMS Blog
When it seems like the world has turned its back on them, people need to be reminded of the God who is for them.
As politicians, bloggers, and journalists all begin to weigh in, may God’s people be different. May God’s people be the kind of people that seek hope and reconciliation.
"God is not a tribal God, but the God of the world; that the gospel is for everyone; and that the church is one body that breaks down the walls of ethnicity, class, and nationalism that divide humans into warring camps.” - Paul Hiebert
May we be “the light of world.”
May we bring the light of Jesus into the dark places of Ferguson, Detroit, and our own neighborhoods. And may the love of Jesus heal the brokenness, light up the dark places, and bring peace to the restless.