I would like to share a video called Why Some People Hate Cops (An Ex-Con Explains), located at the bottom of this post. The video summary states:
“Recent protests and riots have made one thing abundantly clear: Some people hate police officers. Why do some people become enraged at an entire police force and the entire criminal justice system when a particular officer kills someone? Why are some people so angry that they want to defund the police or abolish police entirely? David Wood (an ex-con) discusses various examples of misconduct by police officers and correctional officers, and the impact these encounters have on suspects, inmates, and entire communities. He concludes with some suggestions for police reform.”
In this video, David Wood succeeds in highlighting the REAL problems that need to be addressed. While peaceful protests help to draw attention to issues that need to come to light – rioting, looting and violence does not. We, as Christians, are called to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires (James 1:19-20). There is a time when righteous anger should move us to act, but it should never move us to act in unrighteousness. The foundation of God’s throne is justice AND righteousness (Psalm 89:14). We must leave room for God’s wrath. Blessed are the peacemakers…
This post is not meant to be political. I’m hoping it will help bring some things to light that have remained in the dark for far too long. There are groups in the US that are making a lot of noise, but are failing to bring about any kind of POSITIVE change. At this point, I don’t think most of them even know why they are rioting. And yes, it is rioting. The media and politicians may not understand the difference between “peaceful protests” and “rioting,” but I believe most normal, everyday Americans do.
I would like to share my own story before I share the video. But I will preface my story with this:
I support police officers.
They are not the enemy – they are fellow members of our community. They aren’t just a uniform or badge number – they are our neighbors. We need to pray for them and to do our best to live peaceably. When we are running from danger, they are running to it. To call for defunding or disbanding of the police is just asinine. When we use common sense and logic, we understand that if the police are not present to ensure laws are being enforced, there will be lawlessness. Period. That is what is currently playing out on the streets of some of our major cities. I don’t know about you, but that is NOT what I want for the future of our country. God calls for us to be discerning. Things do need to change… but the change we need will not come about through violence and “cancel culture.”
Shortly after the wrongful death of George Floyd, a friend and I were sharing some thoughts through messaging. I had never planned to share my story, publicly, but felt safe sharing it with her. In light of David Wood’s video, I believe it is relevant, here. The following is what I shared with her. It is my story, as well as, where I stand as a follower of Christ:
I’ll share a story that not many know. Some would say my “white privilege” shouldn’t allow me to even bring it up, but I think you know my heart well enough to know that I only share because it can make a greater point.
Twenty-five years ago (before the days of GPS and Google maps) my boyfriend, at the time, and I were looking for a restaurant in DC. It was dark and we were unfamiliar with the area. We decided to make a left hand turn to go back in the direction from which we came. In the middle of making the turn, I happen to spot the “No left-hand turn” sign. And right next to the sign, waiting at the red light, was a cop. The flashing lights came on. We completed the turn and my boyfriend immediately slowed down and turned on the right-hand turn signal to let the cop know that we were getting over. There wasn’t an immediate shoulder to pull off onto, so we had to drive past a wall in order to actually pull over. My boyfriend even made sure he pulled up far enough to ensure the safety of the officer because the wall was actually a ramp with cars joining up with the busy road that we were on.
All of a sudden, we heard screaming behind us. We turned around to see the officer standing behind his open door, with his gun pointed directly at us, screaming, “Put your motherf*cking hands up before I blow your motherf*cking head off!!” After screaming at us a bit more, he came up (gun holstered, but ready to draw) and took my boyfriend’s license and returned to his car. We basically just sat there in stunned silence. The officer came back and took my boyfriend to his cruiser, and I sat there, alone. A lot of things run through your head in a moment like that. I was actually trying to figure out what I would do if the officer shot my boyfriend. “Do I drive away? Do I just sit here? Is he going to kill me?” These were the days before cellphones, dash cams and body cams. I was finally just trying to make peace with the fact that I might die when my boyfriend returned with his ticket. We were free to go. No apology. No explanation.
My boyfriend contacted the officer’s supervisor and was told to write a letter and to have me write one, as well. It would go into the officer’s file. The supervisor also told my boyfriend that no disciplinary action would come of it. And we never did get an explanation for why he did what he did. I’m not even convinced that those letters ever made it into his file.
This incident led to 20 years of panic attacks anytime a police car pulled up behind me. When other parents were telling their children that cops were “safe” people to turn to for help, I struggled to say that to mine.
But by the grace of God, and through the Lord placing good officers in my path throughout the years, my fear is mostly gone (though, stories like George Floyd’s sometimes brings it back up…my heart utterly grieves for him and his family).
So, why do I share this story? It’s about the common ground. And lessons learned.
When police brutality shows up in the news, or when a friend of color is worried sick about her son, I pray. I pray not just because it is the right, “Christian” thing to do, but I pray because I know how quickly an incident can escalate and someone could die before they even understand what is happening. I don’t want that for ANY son, or daughter. I also know that even when someone survives something like that, it can lead to trauma. It changes you. And many don’t receive proper help, after.
This incident also taught me a lot about forgiveness. I had to forgive that officer. It’s what I, as a Christ follower, am commanded to do. Maybe he truly was a bad cop. Maybe racism played a part. Maybe he was going through something personal and was just having a rough night. Maybe he was scared. I don’t know. But what I do know is that God made him – and Jesus died for him – and I am called to love… and to forgive. It doesn’t change, or justify, what he did. But that is for the Lord to handle, not me. It’s because of this incident that I try to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to become angry. It is also why it took me some time to say anything on Facebook. I have to process my thoughts before speaking. There is a lot of anger on social media, right now. Some of it is righteous anger, and that’s good. But some of it is not.
I so long for all of us to find common ground. But, first, some work needs to be done in the hearts of ALL of us who follow Christ. We need to ask the Lord to examine us; to search our hearts and reveal the sin in us… and then we must repent and obey God. It is only through Christ that the deep wounds of racism can be healed. There is no other way. The world is at enmity with God. And to the world, it doesn’t make sense to forgive people of atrocities like racism, slavery, murder, police brutality, etc… Oftentimes, it doesn’t even make sense to Christians! But it is what we, as Christ followers, are commanded to do.
The wages of sin are impossible for man to pay. The price is too high. Sometimes we can “make right” a wrong that we have committed, but not with things like racism. Only Jesus can. And He already has. We must fix our eyes on Jesus and do what He has commanded us to do.
Beloved, there can be no reconciliation without repentance and forgiveness. I’ll say it, again. There can be NO reconciliation without repentance and forgiveness. It is the only way to close the divide. It is the only way to bring about healing. We need biblical justice, not “social justice.” We need the TRUTH of God’s Word, not “critical race theory” or “intersectionality.” Worldly theories that claim there will always be an oppressor, and the oppressed, can NEVER bring unity. Worldly theories that divide us up into categories and groups can NEVER unite us. But in Christ Jesus, there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female – we are ALL one if we are in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
We are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength – and love our neighbors as ourselves.
And we are called to respect authority.
I have hope. My hope is in the Lord.
I do believe changes, in many societal areas, need to come. For us, as Christians, that change begins with us…by asking God to search our hearts and direct our steps.
I encourage you to watch the video all the way through in order to get the full picture of what is being said. He shares some great insight that, I believe, is being missed when this topic is discussed.