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The Tipping Point

Author: Pastor Mitch Williams
June 04, 2020

As if the world-wide pandemic were not enough, our nation has been brought to its collective knees with the continued plague of racism. All of us have been incensed by the vicious and barbaric murder of a man named George Floyd at the hands of four police officers. Because the entire crime was discretely recorded by a bystander, our nation was reminded yet again of racism at its worst by the very hands of those entrusted to carry out law and order.

I am ashamed to admit it, but I have minimized the problem of racism. In the past, when the news flashed stories of police brutality against a black person, I heard the reports and callously continued to live my life unchanged. But the senseless death of George Floyd is a tipping point. How is it that the greatest nation on earth, the land of the free, home of the brave, a nation presumably under God, embraces a law enforcement system that routinely mistreats and even murders those in custody simply because of the color of their skin? While I also recognize and appreciate the vast majority of police officers who serve with integrity and courage, Floyd’s murder is a final wake-up call for all us to do something about racism.

But racism is not just about certain police officers who hold deep prejudice. I have learned that racism affects African American people every day of their lives. Black men know not to wear a hoodie when on a walk or run for fear of being judged a delinquent. I spoke to a church member who said as a black family they experience ill-treatment in certain restaurants. One young educated black women staying in a high-end hotel said she was harassed in an elevator by a man who said to the exiting folks, “ladies first,” only to put his hand in her face, and added, “I said ladies first, not you.” Racism hurts people and it is deeply wounding our nation.

I am grateful for the thousands of peaceful protestors who have said, enough is enough. They are the voices of the those who have died or suffered pain as a result of racism. And as Martin Luther King Jr. modeled over 50 years ago, marching can produce positive change in American laws. At the same time, those who loot and/or bring destruction as a form of punishment to police and privilege certainly deserve to face the full consequences of breaking the law. 

But let us not lose focus over what is the real systemic problem. Black lives matter just as much as the lives of any other color. The time has come for racism, like slavery before it, to be defeated. 

The time is now to begin to pray about a problem decades and centuries in the making. Prayers for a new sensitivity to the plague of racism. Prayers for healing and compassion for the victims. Prayers for forgiveness for perpetrating bigotry. Prayers for changes in our hearts over how we view equality. Prayers to listen and learn about what to do. Prayers for wisdom in bringing change with our societal laws and practices.

Let us begin with prayer and then let us act with love. The devil has had his way far too long with dividing people over race. Jesus is the only way we can unite. May we, His children, under His power lead the way in loving one another. 

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8