Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?” (John 18:10-11)
Read: Acts 15:22 – 17:15
Relate: [This was originally written days after the NY incident with Eric Garner. I have added and edited some to include more recent incidents]
It happened in Ferguson Missouri. Riots ensued. Then Eric Garner, after breaking up a fight, was arrested in New York City. He was angry and yelling but he was not being violent. They took him down. As they were cuffing him at least eleven times he cried out, “I can’t breathe!” Eric was choked to death. The whole thing was caught on video, but a grand jury once again refused to indict the officer who choked him to death because there “wasn’t enough evidence.” Dontre Hamilton, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile… the list just keeps growing.
Illegal, unjust, brutal arrests are nothing new. Jesus Himself was caught up in one. When they came to take Him away, it was Peter who tried “resisting”. Jesus response was to immediately stop Peter from his actions. He did not deny that this arrest was unjust. He did not deny that He was within His “rights” to resist and to protest. The actions of those coming to arrest Him were cruel, They were unjust. They were evil. Jesus simply said, “this is the cup of suffering from which I must drink.”
React: I’ve seen and read conflicting accounts of what happened in the Ferguson case. I’ve watched the video of what happened in New York City. I have seen the footage from the traffic stop in Minnesota. There is no other word to describe what the cops did than “murder”. I don’t know the full story in any of these cases. I don’t know what happened in that “fight” that Eric Garner broke up. The thing is, none of us ever will know the whole story because we cannot enter the minds of the murderers to know exactly why they did what they did. All we can know for sure… injustice abounds.
But that does not, ever, give license to riot. That does not ever give license to return harm for harm. There are other ways to give voice to our anger. There are other ways, good ways, to shine light on the darkness that is the police state here in America. Doing violence, doing harm, and that on neighboring business and individuals who have absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand has never been and will never be productive. When this evil happens, we need to remember that we should we lift our voices up and put our swords down.
God, forgive. For the times I have been angry, or frustrated, or felt powerless enough that I just wanted to break something, to lash out, to destroy. Forgive those times when I allowed my anger, even if it was just, to lead to sin. I am imperfect. I know it. You know it. Yet you love me anyways. Help me, even in times of anger, frustration, and injustice, to always radiate You.
God, I also pray for the families and friends of the victims of these atrocities along with other forms of injustice that happen around the world where similar things might have happened but without so much media coverage. Give them peace. Show them love. Draw them closer to You in their time of mourning. I pray for the policemen and women who, usually, are doing their very best in a very difficult career. Keep them from becoming jaded. Help give them wisdom even, especially in those when it can become very easy to make a very dumb choice in the heat of a moment. I also pray for our judges those who find themselves on a jury. Help them to find truth and execute justice no matter what slick talking or legal loopholes overpaid lawyers might find to twist and warp Your truth. In all things show us grace for those times when justice has not triumphed.