No one in his right mind condones the death of George Floyd. He was murdered for the entire world to see. We are all aware of evil and how it prevails, but what took place on this dreadful day was inexcusable. No human being should ever suffer this type of heinous death. When we ignore these actions, we are sending a message that we do not care. I am not black, but I know what racism is about. I’ve experienced it a handful of times. It has never been a constant in my life, but I understand it exists. When we first moved to Orange County, I went to the elementary school to register my children into the public school that was in our district. As soon as I walked into the office I was greeted by an unfriendly woman. She asked me, “And why do you think you can register your children at this school? Who told you this was your school?” My answer was, “The realtor did.” I was not from this city, and I had no idea that this school was predominantly white. That woman was a racist, and she was going to do her best to make me feel uncomfortable. I never liked her because of her condescending behavior, but I never had anger toward her. Though this happened almost 40 years ago, I never forgot about this cold, unwelcome reception. I learned early in life not to allow this type of person to dictate who I was. I told myself that I would never make an individual feel inferior. Now imagine if this type of racist behavior happened to you on a regular basis. It’s hard to turn the other cheek if this is a constant. Think before judging, because unless you’re black, you will never really understand their plight. Black people need to be heard, and we need to listen to what they have to say.
Lesson in Serving the Homeless
In the twenty years of feeding the homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles, the one thing that I learned is to respect the person at whatever stage in life they are. Respect is a small word with a profound meaning: from Webster’s Dictionary,
If we as a ministry had not recognized that a person who lives on the streets had worth, we could never have shown them love. I have come across the hardest-looking dudes on Skid Row, but when we showed them respect, they opened their hearts to receive. I have always trained the others helping us that at no time are they allowed to touch anyone without first asking that person’s permission. This is their personal space, and we learned to respect them because they have worth. We were all created by one God, and each of us has a special purpose and calling. We are all called to love one another.
United We Stand
We are all in this together. Just as during the pandemic, we should unite for the betterment of humanity. This last incident has hit all Americans in the gut; I can’t breathe either. It took the actions of one mindless officer to make us aware of the need to re-evaluate how we treat other human beings. This unjust treatment has got to stop! I, for one, will become more cognizant of my actions. To love is to always place the needs of others before your own. Become a servant and you will understand what love is really about. Jesus took the role of a servant by washing the feet of His disciples. He knew what suffering was ahead for Him, yet He took the role of a lowly servant. Why do you think Jesus did this? It wasn’t because the disciples’ feet were dirty; he was teaching them to be servants. If you do not learn to serve, you develop a spirit of entitlement. Our country suffers with a slew of entitled people, and they come from all races and economic backgrounds.
The Perfect Storm
I was already upset with the stay-at-home order, and anger was taking hold of my daily dialogue. We were never without; Mike works from home so our finances remained status quo. It was the inconveniences of staying home that was making me crazy. Now imagine if you did not have food or income – how much more would the pandemic affect those individuals? This was the perfect storm: restlessness meets anger, and all hell breaks loose. How do we fix this big mess? People who have experienced hurricanes and tornados understand the aftermath. They started anew. They cleaned up the mess the storm had left behind. They built stronger homes to withstand the coming storms. Most importantly, they drew closer to God. Only God can see us through this storm, and only by turning our anger into love can we withstand the upheaval. We need to rebuild our spirits in order to withstand these attacks. We need to put on the armor of God to dodge the fiery darts that are being thrown our way. These assignments are from hell, and they are meant to rob, kill and destroy. We need to remain in constant prayer.
John 10:10 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
10 A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.
A dear friend of mine called me Saturday, asking me to pray for her brother who is a lieutenant with the Sheriffs Department. He was gearing up to face the angry mobs in Los Angeles. If you think for one moment that these officers were not apprehensive, you’re kidding yourself. They had nothing to do with the murder of George Floyd, yet they are going to be held accountable. Their lives have value, and they, too, matter. You want to talk about restraint? These officers have to put up with bottles of urine and feces, M-80’s thrown at them, and strangers yelling obscenities right in their faces.
We are all accountable for our actions, and as I watched this news unfold, I became angry because of all the looting and destruction taking place. But what angered me the most was the manner in which the media covered the story. It was more of an incitement to violence than reporting it. When there is lawlessness, it must be contained with the intention to stop the actions of the mob. Another friend texted me a flyer with information on a rally of solidarity. The strange thing about this flyer was that there was no mention of George Floyd. It started with F*** the police, mask up, wear black and bring your Homies. The people inciting this type of behavior are self-serving individuals who care little about the real problem. I will never side with rioting because it cultivates violence and portrays all protesters as criminals. You lose the ear of the masses when this happens because there is no excuse for lawlessness.
Matthew 24:12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great of a burden to bear.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“In a gentle way you can shake the world.” Mahatma Gandhi
“Only when we have become nonviolent toward all life will we have learned to live well ourselves.” Cesar Chavez
1 Peter 4:8 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
8 Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins.
Lord, heal our land!