I am not here to tell you if justice was or wasn’t served by the acquittal of police officer Darren Wilson. I am not here to tell you that the people of Ferguson are or aren’t acting inappropriately in response to that acquittal. I am not here to tell you why I know that my opinion on the mayhem happening in Ferguson, MO is greater and more intellectually sophisticated than yours.
Instead, I’m here to deliver a quite simple message that it seems most people ignore when a controversial issue such as this surfaces.
This message is for those of you who claim to follow Christ, who trust in His name, who find identity in His transforming sacrifice. If you call yourself a Christian, this message is for you.
John 13:34-35 says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” In Mark 12:31, Jesus lists “love your neighbor as yourself” among the two greatest commandments.
Jesus told us to love. In the same way that the ultimate example of love has transformed and continues to transform us, we are to love. Jesus has given us each unique gifts and called each of us to use them in unique spheres of influences, but our actions are to be dressed in love no matter where we are or what we do.
When things are easy, we are to love. When things are hard, we are to love. When it seems impossible to love, we are to love. Love is our purpose. Through our love, the Gospel speaks.
Jesus is love, and if we want to represent Jesus to others, we need to love them. In fact, love (and thus, the communication of the Gospel) should be our goal in any and every relationship we have. And even though it may feel indirect, you have a relationship with the people of Ferguson, Missouri.
Before you blindly reduce this relationship to a political one, as the minds of Americans have been so systematically trained to do, first pray for, at the very least take a second to mentally consider those affected by the events that have transpired in Ferguson. Take a second. Think about the family of Mike Brown. Think about Officer Wilson. Think about the people of Ferguson. Think about the police chief who is undoubtedly experiencing one of the most stressful times of his life. Think about those in the Ferguson community who fear for their safety simply because of the violence taking place around them. Think of the African-American community as a whole. Think of the human race. For a second, please drop your party affiliation and consider humanity.
The minds of Americans have been systematically divided into opposing groups that have left no space for the consideration of humanity. Groups that constantly fight back and forth for position, for power, for the ability to make changes. Groups that desire to be right.
We often fall victim to the lie that once we attain correctness, we have the power to make change. We must earn the respect of our peers and the general public by proving that our opinions are more consistent, more sensible, and more coherent than the opinions of those who disagree. We simply desire to be right.
While being right may seem like a high calling, you are stooping to mediocrity if your actions display this to be your highest purpose. Jesus has called you to something so much higher – He has called you to a level of love that has the true ability to break the chains of injustice.
If you call yourself a Christian, please lay down your desire to be right and step alongside those who are hurting. This is exactly what Jesus did. Even when Jesus has disagreed with your actions, He has loved you and has shown you this through His grace. Please lay down your party affiliation and let your Kingdom affiliation do the talking.
Your party alignment will soon fade away. Be a beacon of hope, not an agent of argument. For goodness’ sakes, and for the sake of souls, love your enemies. That includes your political enemies. The people of Ferguson are not simply political machines. Whether you agree with their actions or not, do not reduce them to objects of your mind. They are people with hearts, desires, and other people who care about them. Act and speak according to their hurt.
In your hurt, Jesus meets you where you’re at, even when you handle it the wrong way. In their hurt, meet them where they’re at, even if you think they’re handling it the wrong way. Even though you likely don’t know anyone in Ferguson or anyone directly involved with the issues at hand, you can display this love through fervent prayer – even for your political enemies.
If your political allegiance comes before your love of humanity born of Christ, something is disconnected. Are you first inclined to pray for those affected by the violence and treachery in Ferguson, or are you first inclined to scoff at those who don’t share your opinion for their supposed stupidity?
If it’s the latter, step back and understand that Jesus draws no party lines. When He took your sins to the cross, He suffered so that you would KNOW LOVE. Jesus put aside His differences with you, knowing and understanding that your actions would be insufficient to earn their way to His approval, because He loved you so much (and still does).
The least you can do for the people of Ferguson is put aside your differences with, whether those differences be of race or opinion, and love them. Love those with whom you disagree. It is this standard of love that will truly break down walls, something that the desire to be right is utterly powerless to do.
No matter how badly you want to be right and to tell others you are right, understand that people are hurting. Walk with them in their hurt. Love the brokenhearted. That’s what Jesus did for you. Settling for ‘being right’ would be settling for less than the standard of love that has salvaged your soul. Be a beacon of hope, not an agent of argument.
Remember, you carry the Spirit that has the power to change the entire world. This Spirit allows you to love those with whom you disagree. It is this type of love that will break through the chaos in Ferguson, MO and will cause the rightful death of injustice. It is this love, the true love of Jesus, that you are called to.
The desire to be right may be strong, but love means comforting those who hurt even if you believe they’re wrong. Love is the strongest weapon.