It doesn’t take a genius to realize that 2020 has not gone as planned. It seems everyday has become a feature news story. My only explanation that ties all of these various events together is that it is an election year, and every possible weapon (short of nuclear) has been expended to change the political landscape of America. However, if you’ve seen 24 (the TV show), nuclear weapons may still be on the table if America’s enemies figure it out.
I titled this blog specifically because of the image from the Youversion app. But I think it also speaks to where our attention is diverted today. We’re no longer concerned about social distancing in Minneapolis or in many other cities across the nation. So it will be interesting to see if COVID-19 is still a potent threat, or just a fear created by the media. I think at some point the media will have to start manufacturing stories about how protesters are testing positive for the virus and overloading the hospitals if they are to maintain their credibility.
But wearing a “hoodie” as this gentleman is in the picture doesn’t not constitute in and of itself an issue. I think many people could look at this picture and see someone who is engaged in serious Bible study. Others can look at it and see a criminal planning his next big score. It’s not what’s on the hood but under it.
The average person’s ability to make snap judgments these days is impressive. The ability to do a “hot take” on a single image I believe is what has driven most people’s understanding of George Floyd’s death based on a single image of a police officer holding Mr. Floyd down with his knee. Just like the image above, I don’t have context for it. I don’t know everything that officer and Mr. Lloyd did up to that point. I don’t know what context the officer had for holding Mr. Lloyd down. I don’t know what context Mr. Lloyd had for being held down in such a fashion. Do you? Can you confidently assert that you know everything about that situation? Do you know the course of events which led to each man meeting in such a way? I don’t, and I consider myself an intelligent person.
The Bible is wise in its advice. Be slow to speak. Be quick to hear. Be slow to anger. Be quick to listen. Two (independent) witnesses are required to verify testimony and they must agree. Don’t make judgment until you have enough information to do so.
Oh but the injustice! Oh but the racism! Really? Is that what this is about? Give me a definition of justice where the punishment far outweighs the crime. Oh but you don’t understand. This has been building for decades. They had it coming. Who had it coming? The shop owners whose businesses have now been destroyed twice, once by COVID and now by protesters? The “white folk”? There are WHITE people in the protests! The cops? All cops everywhere ought to be punished because some committed crimes? That’s like saying all blacks need to be punished because some committed crimes.
Something we need to remember is that all of us, all of us live in the ‘hood. Someone once asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” I might ask the same, “Who lives in my neighborHOOD? Everyone does. There is no “us vs. them”, because it is all US.
Something to chew on on this Monday.
God, please forgive my neighbors who do not know what they are doing. Please forgive my nation because we have lost our way. Help me and my neighbors find the light again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.