The past week has been a trying time for the collective American moral conscience.
Both Alton Sterling’s and Philando Castile’s deaths at the hands of police officers sparked a fire of outrage among proponents of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. This anger carried over into protests in Dallas, where a sniper murdered five police officers – making it the deadliest attack on police officers since 9/11. In the days that followed, more attacks occurred in Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, and Houston. This spawned a counter-reaction among much of the populace who pushed a “Blue Lives Matter” campaign.
Some individuals in both camps have helped foster an atmosphere of hostility against the other, as if they are mutually exclusive statements. For some in the black lives matter camp, simply claiming that all lives matter glosses over the injustices they claim to have suffered. For some in the blue lives matter faction, claims that black lives matter stimulate racist beliefs among Americans and generate feelings of racial superiority.
Unfortunately, social media outlets have helped stir up disdain from one side toward the other, and in so doing, caused the two true statements to be viewed as contradictory. Indeed, we are often forced to pick sides when both sides can be taken simultaneously.
Thankfully, it is okay to both support the police while also speaking out against an injustice. In fact, it is vital that we think and act this way.
While apples are tasty, healthy fruits when good, if spoiled they become repulsive to our taste and health. When things are used the way they are intended by God, they are delightful, but when certain “rotten apples” among the bunch are corrupted, they are not going to serve their predetermined purpose.
Cops serve us as public servants who willingly sacrifice their own bodies for our protection. Unfortunately, as with the bunch of apples, sometimes individual cops will thwart their intended purpose for a destructive end. This is a truth for all professions and should not at all cause ill-will in our hearts toward the police. There are also corrupt ministers, teachers, and doctors – yet we remain thankful for those who faithfully and righteously serve in these professions.
Underlying many of these divisive problems is the ever-present sinful human heart that has produced feelings of racism throughout mankind’s history.
Accusations of racism on both sides have caused a blame game in which both camps fault the other for the shortcomings of society. “If only we had a different president” is uttered by those who think that a change in leadership would solve the age-old issues of the human heart. Indeed, a recent CNN article asks the question: “Who can heal America?”.
However, racism is neither caused nor solved by government officials. It is a sin issue that must be dealt with on the grassroots level.
No president nor congress nor political party will change an individual’s heart. Neither Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, nor Gary Johnson will propose a magical solution to overcome the misdeeds in our nation. Change starts in our homes, churches, and community.
God is a God of reconciliation. We were alienated from God by our sin, and through Christ’s death on the cross, we were adopted into the family of God. Likewise, God has called those whom He has reconciled to the same ministry within their own spheres of influence.
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18
Instead of angrily pointing fingers at others, we are called to step across the divide and love those who have wronged us. We are then to pursue justice for the oppressed – for God is also a God of justice. When justice is not obtained in our fallen earthly courts, we can rest assured that it will be executed faithfully at the eternal throne of God.
“But the Lord… has established His throne for justice.” Psalm 9:7
Black lives matter. Blue lives matter. All lives matter. These are not mutually exclusive statements. Indeed, we should be defending and fighting for the truth of all of them.