Actually, I wish I could personally address Michael Brown's family about some thoughts that I have... but while I was thinking about them, I had even more thoughts that made me stop and change my perspective just a little. (please read this ENTIRE thing as I will start out with some info and thoughts before moving on to what I want to get at tonight, and what I want you all to REALLY think about)
for anyone that is unfamiliar with this story, feel free to use your favorite search engine(I don't google anymore) and look into 'Ferguson, Missouri' or "Michael Brown" and you'll quickly learn a lot. To sum it up quickly...
Back in August a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri fatally shot an unarmed black man. I HATE having to mention that he was a black man as color should not ever matter... but sadly, it does. And this is why it's such a big story. In many major cities, there's tension between the black population and cops. This is a very complicated matter that I could write for a while on. Prejudice and stereotypes are complicated things... and ugly.
According to all the evidence that has been reported and given to a jury, Michael Brown had just robbed a local store and was disobeying the officer, and even charged and attacked the officer. I know there's likely even more to the story than I have heard on the news but, a lot of it is online.
When the shooting occurred, many stories popped up instantly... people that claimed to be witnesses stated that the officer shot Michael Brown for no reason. The evidence, reportedly, conflicts with all of those witness accounts. The evidence showed that the young man attacked the officer, and charged him afterwards. The officer shot and killed him.
BUT, those first accounts were automatically believed by the people in that city. Prejudice, racial profiling, stereotypes... they're a two way street sometimes. The people in that city WANT to believe that a white police officer killed a black man just because he was black. It does not help that you have public figures stirring things up with that tension.
Not long after all this hit the news, there were protests all over that area that escalated to a very visible police presence there. Things died down there for a while but the other day a jury came back and found the officer to NOT be guilty of any crime under Missouri's state laws.
The people in Ferguson(and, all across the country) were quite upset about this. Without having ever been shown the evidence, they just KNEW that the officer is guilty. It's a mindset... There are things we want to believe in life that are difficult to let go of... sometimes even when evidence is contrary to what we believe.
So, riots happened... bad ones... buildings burned down, etc. Someone even died in the riots. Their protests are supposedly in the name of justice... how does that help?
Anyway... the family of Michael Brown intends to sue the officer now.
When I first read that today I was able to see their hurt and realize that this is where they are coming from. Their son was taken from them and, how can you simply say that the police officer had the right to kill their son? Imagine if it was your son... It would be a hard pill to swallow if someone told you that your son forced the officer to take such an action.
Well, at first what I was thinking was that it would be nice if I could address the family myself and ask them to see this all from another perspective... If they could, for a moment, NOT feel like a victim, take a long hard look at the actual evidence... and then put themselves in the officers shoes. Police officers(no matter what you think of them) have a very demanding job... a tough one... that sometimes puts them into positions that NOBODY wants to be in. Making the decision to shoot someone is NOT an easy one.
Anyway... my thoughts were, if the family could do that... honestly consider all the evidence... and STILL found the officer to be guilty of a crime... THEN proceed with the suit.
But while I am realizing that right now they are IN a state of feeling like a victim. Their son was taken from them and right now, there is no excuse for that. That's simply how they feel. they're in pain.
As I see people post on facebook about the events... I see a lot of people throwing words around like "stupid" or "idiots".
Even though it is VERY clear that the rioters are in the wrong... and even though in my opinion the family needs to seek truth and not simply their idea of justice... Even though I KNOW that situations are not as simple as they look, and a lot of people are assuming things... Even though.........
Even though I have all of my own beliefs and opinions on this all... I also KNOW that that family and that city are in a desperate situation and NEED prayer. They need peace and healing. I don't think healing comes from making sure someone gets what they deserve(whether they do or not deserve)... That's a heart issue... wanting justice... when something is not fair... you want someone to pay.
I promise... that does not bring closure or healing to you. In those situations... forgiveness and understanding are the only things that will bring you true peace. Anything outside of forgiveness... even if you get the outcome you want... even if that young man's family could get that officer in jail... that will not bring their son back... it will not bring them healing... it will still leave them in a place of hurt and bitterness. Bitterness is not a good thing.
I'm straying a bit here. I'm speaking a bit about what the people there in Ferguson need to do... They're begging for justice even when they don't know what justice is in this situation...
However... this is not where I meant to go with this. I do hope you're all still reading.
The main thing I want to get across to everyone out there is... No matter what side you're on with this issue... how are YOU helping it? I can sit back and comment on how dumb it is to start fires in that city. Some of those people are literally destroying their own communities. Businesses gone that might never come back... not to mention the strengthening of an ugly stereotype.
BUT....... as truthful as some of that is. Am I helping? Am I helping anything or anyone?
What I challenge all of you to do is to stop and say a prayer... right now even. That family and that community are hurting in more ways than one right now. They need peace and healing... even though I can see that they will not get that in the way they are seeking... It is still something they want and need right now. So... while I can't wave a wand and fix things... while I can't be there ministering to the family or the people on the streets there... what I can do now is pray.
I urge us all to stop and pray... to pray that first and foremost that WE see these people as people that are hurting and need God's love... and then pray that God would show it to them, somehow.
I hope you feel a little humbled by these thoughts. I know I am. God loves these people just as He loves you. And even if we find ourselves thinking people "deserve" this or that... according to the bible, what do we deserve? All of us. ALL of us. We don't deserve God's love and forgiveness. But, He gave it to us anyway... and He has called us to do the same.
Anyway... Please pray for these people.
Dear God, I pray that you would continue to humble me and continue to teach me to see other people as people... people that you love just as much as you Love me. I pray for the family of Michael Brown. They are hurting right now and they want to make sense of everything. I pray that you would find the right people to reach out to them and show them Your love. I pray that somehow they will find peace in it all and forgiveness.
I pray for the police officer involved as he has to deal with the consequences of his actions. I pray that people in that city and around the country would also see the officer as a human being and not just a man that shot someone.
I pray also for the city of Ferguson... Right now there are a lot of people there that are lost and confused... a LOT of anger there Lord. There's also a lot of people there that just want a reason to act out. I pray that you'd bring healing to that community... that people would find a way to join together in a positive way to grown and strengthen their community. I pray that people will find a way to come to peace with what has happened and not to hold onto bitterness and hatred. I pray that those that are wanting to participate in criminal activity will find a new outlook on life. I pray that people will come into their lives that will influence them in positive ways.
Lord... there is just so much that this community is needing right now. I know that you have a much better idea of what they all need than I... I simply pray that you bring healing to that community.
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