Yesterday afternoon I got in my car to drive home and was immediately bombarded with the most recent piece of news regarding yet ANOTHER shooting. This one hit a little closer to home, as we live in Holland, MI and this happened in St. Joseph, MI. Three more people died in this shooting.
This recent wave of active gunmen has sparked so much debate, hate, and ridiculous opinions on who is right, who is wrong, and why. Sadly, there were some who call themselves “Christians” that were a vocal minority celebrating those in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando got what they deserved because of the lifestyle they were living (Just a quick side note: No murder should be celebrated. Ever. No lifestyle should be so vilely opposed that one should wish they would go to Hell. That is not a Christ-like response).
Then there came the killing of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. It is sad and disconcerting that it appears that cops are more quick to pull the gun and shoot when faced with a black man than a white man. That isn’t okay.
Yes, there are corrupt Police Officers. Yes, there are Police Officers who act wrongly, who react too quickly with deadly force, and who make the wrong judgment call and a black life is taken, like the above examples. Yes, too, there are Police Officers who don’t react quickly enough, or aren’t expecting deadly force to be used against them, who die too often in the line of duty, even during routine traffic stops.
After the killing of Sterling and Castile, there was the Dallas shooting where police officers who were providing security for a protest that was protesting police brutality were being fired upon by a sniper. The sniper killed 5 officers, wounded 7 other officers and 2 civilians.
This is where the polarizing opinions come in. They have been coming in since the first killing. Blacks versus cops. One side or the other. No space in between.. Trevor Noah, who hosts the Daily Show on Comedy Central, weighed in after both Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed and very wisely and intelligently communicated to his entire audience that we don’t have to be forced into following the loud polarizing voices of our society.
Noah says, “It always feels like in America, it’s like, if you take a stand for something, you automatically are against something else.” This is a good quote for everyone, and one that we need to keep in mind regarding all of the polarizing topics today in our society.
Just because I stand for something, doesn’t mean I hate the other thing. I like Coca Cola more than I like Pepsi. It doesn’t mean I hate Pepsi. I stand on the fact that Jesus Christ is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. That does not mean I hate any single person who opposes that view. In fact, it means I love them all the more. Because that’s what Jesus Christ, the One I seek to model my life after, would do.
In the wake of murders and snipers and hatred and polarizing forces, we have to stand up and say, “Enough.” As a Christian, I need to have the courage to stand up and speak loudly and boldly that whether white, black, civilian, police officer, straight, gay, transgender, Christian, non-Christian, every individual is made in the image and likeness of the Creator God and therefore every individual has inherent value and worth. I will not love one person and hate the other. We cannot fall victim to the mentality and attitude that we have to join one side or the other in this fight.
The thing that truly matters is pursuing every single individual with the love of Jesus Christ. The only solution to the brokenness, the hatred, the hopelessness, is the Person of Jesus Christ who makes a way for us to be with God and to live in a peace that surpasses all understanding, a joy that is not based on situation, and a hope that is eternal.