Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd has caused us once again as a culture, a country and as a community to reel back and contemplate how this kind of evil can still be in our midst.
For a police officer with 17 complaints against him over his two decades with the department, we might never know if it was pure, ugly prejudice against a black man or just a horrible need to bully.
Either way, inequities against people based on their skin color are unfortunately still a reality in America now.
When will the vile weed of racism be finally pulled from the heart of humans?
Haven’t we moved on from such empty, dangerous and nonsensical lies about skin color having anything to do with the image bearing likeness we all share with our Creator? Haven’t we seen enough over the decades to know that although there are many ethnicities, as Alveda King has so often noted, there is one common race – the human race.
To embrace the sanctity of every life, at every stage of development, whatever creed or color, or any other characteristic, we must become children of God.
And yet, as King Solomon made it clear, there is nothing new under the sun. Jeremiah wept that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Derek Chauvin’s heart. My heart. Your heart.
To embrace the sanctity of every life, at every stage of development, whatever creed or color, or any other characteristic, we must become children of God. But the gate is small and the road is narrow that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:14).
So, many keep resisting the way, the truth and the life. John the Apostle informs us that even those to whom Jesus came to specifically and personally did not receive him and avoided the light.
They preferred staying in the darkness.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28)
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)
And when that miracle happens, and truly takes root in our hearts, we become one. “So, in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28)
What people need now, as they have always needed, is the power of the Holy Spirit in them bearing the fruit of love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness and self-control (John 15:5).
To be sure, peaceful protests, projects, policies, politicians and platforms have a place in this discussion we’re having now. But we are wise to be instructed by two towering figures who had seen their share of desperately wicked hearts.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who had experienced the horrors of the Soviet Gulag, said during his 1978 Harvard commencement address that “The tilt of freedom toward evil … stems from a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which man … does not bear any evil within himself, and all the defects of life are caused by misguided social systems, which must therefore be corrected.” For his speech … he was booed.
“No one looking at world history without some preconception in favor of progress could find in it a steady up gradient,” said C.S. Lewis.
C.S. Lewis, who had witnessed up close the “war to end all wars” as an infantryman, had his doubts about how systems can truly impact lasting change. In his essay, “The World’s Last Night,” Lewis says, “In my opinion, the modern conception of Progress or Evolution (as popularly imagined) is simply a myth, supported by no evidence whatever … No one looking at world history without some preconception in favor of progress could find in it a steady up gradient.”
Indeed, the trajectory looks rather discouraging.
But be encouraged and be alert. The enemy has been identified and he is prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Each of us have been equipped, not by our own doing but by the same power that raised Jesus from the grave, to “take our stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11) and to use our unworldly weapons to “demolish strongholds” (2 Corinth 10:4).
Ultimately and finally, we will have peace that passes all understanding as George Floyd does now. Although he had troubles at times like we all do, Big Floyd, as he was known by in many circles liked to say to the ministries he worked with “if y’all about God’s business, then that’s my business.”
How can you and I – right now – be about God’s business? We lean into Scripture and we call out evil when we see it. Loudly and unapologetically but with grace and humility. Ephesians 5:11 instructs us to “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” The Psalmist asks, “Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will stand for me against those who practice iniquity?”
Although this world will always bring us trouble, we are to take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! The mission has been accomplished at the cross, but the world is still in need of missionaries.
May the life and death of George Floyd cause each of us to walk humbly before the Lord, to act justly and to love mercy – to keep being about God’s business.
The writer is president of Alaska Family Action, a statewide, pro-family public policy organization.
The views expressed here do not necessarily express those of the Alaska Watchman.