As I sit behind my keyboard on this Thursday morning, I feel compelled to offer some kingdom insights that might help us process the horrific murder of George Floyd and the response of the angry protestors who have ravaged a portion of Minneapolis.

And yet, like I’m sure is true for many of you, I am speechless. After staring at my blank page for twenty minutes now I am unable to scrounge up a few words that would adequately describe the behavior of the four policemen, the protestors turned rioters, and the venomous responses offered by the arm chair protestors on social media.

My fingers feel paralyzed to write anything as I try to imagine how a person would become so full of contempt that they could actually slowly squeeze the life out of person while his three partners emotionlessly ignored the desperate cries for help from Mr. Floyd and that the process of apprehension was grossly inhumane.

Likewise, I’m also trying to imagine how a group of people could be deceived into thinking that destroying and looting your neighborhood would relieve the pain of their broken hearts.

There are no words. Hurt people hurt people. Injustice often breeds injustice. What we see happening is the ultimate effect of people whose consciences have been seared—people who are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts making an attempt to make sure justice is served while doing the very thing they are protesting.

As anxiety and anger begin to fill my soul, I also feel a need to release it, I begin to think about who is to blame. But then I began to wonder, when it comes to addressing injustice, who in the George Floyd story am I most like.  Do I become like the cop who blindly carries out his own justice? Am I like the other three  policemen who quietly stand by and say nothing even though people are alerting me to the fact that something is not right?

I also wonder in what way am I like the watching crowd who were taking videos of the arrest but didn’t have the courage to make a greater attempt to stop the policeman. Or I wondered, has there ever been a time when my quiet protest over an injustice didn’t bring about the immediate results my soul was hoping for? And so instead I gave into the little voice in my head which reassured me of my right to release my pent up anger from the times I had been hurt, regardless of whether or not I would hurt someone else. And how easily do I find myself being motivated by the synergy of the looters and rioters who have also taken up my cause, even though I know what we are doing is wrong?

As I reflect on the current events happening in Minneapolis, I realize more and more how broken this world is. I realize how intense the battle is becoming. I realize how important it is for me to be aware of how I respond to injustice. And I realize more and more how the world would be different if we embraced Romans 12:9-10;14-21.

9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Oh God, grant us the grace that would protect us from destroying ourselves,  Amen.

Mike Altena


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