Demanding Justice, Judgment and Repentance
For those of you who don’t know, on Monday, May 25th, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed by Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, who had his knee on his neck for eight minutes - all while knowingly being filmed. All while he, and three other officers, held him down after being repeatedly told by Mr. Floyd and several bystanders that he couldn’t breathe. Needless to say, his death sparked a global outrage as protesters filled the streets demanding justice. On June 1st, Officer Chauvin was charged, and two days later, so were officers King, Lane, and Thao.
Throughout the eight days of protesting I found myself commenting on the events. But because I value freedom, I tend to shy away from calling for someone to be incarcerated. Why I’m that way, especially after someone attempted to take my life several years ago, can only be the grace of God. Nonetheless, in situations like this, I typically comment (i.e. judge) on other issues surrounding their culpability. But after watching the Minnesota Attorney General’s press conference, I began to think about the four officers.
Eight days ago, they left their loved ones and home to go do a job they’d done every day. They got into their patrol vehicles and went to a precinct, just as they’d probably done for years. Eight days later, they were now facing felony charges; each carrying a minimum of 40 years. Forty. Though you may not agree, when I thought that, my heart went out to them. Why? Because those four officers will no longer enjoy what most take for granted – freedom.
The thing about it is that what if they sowed what they will no longer enjoy? Meaning, what if they falsely arrested an innocent person and that person was now incarcerated for something they didn’t do? Or what if the person did commit a crime? Was there ever a time when they gave someone a warning or let someone go without prejudice? Namely, Mr. Floyd. What if they’d have given him a warning? Showed him the leniency they so want and need now? The hard answer to those questions is that they were presented with the opportunity to give Mr. Floyd what they will now need.
When you think about it that way, sowing takes on a whole new meaning. We tend to think of sowing only in terms of money. But you can also sow respect, forgiveness, mercy and leniency. The thing about it is that you never know when you’ll need any of the aforementioned. For those four officers, they needed to sow all of the above that day. But again, when given the opportunity, they declined. But let’s ask another question: what if they’ve never sown respect, forgiveness, mercy and leniency in the form of a warning? What if they have no real merciful, lenient seed in the ground? That would mean they’ll be shown none. That’s sobering. And though they may have none, there’s still repentance.
They still have an opportunity to repent to God, to Mr. Floyd’s family, and to the nation. Contrary to what you or I think, they still can be forgiven. Why? Because Jesus already atoned for their sin and served their future sentences. Oh, I know we may want them to pay the price, but repentance is available; even for Officers Chauvin, King, Lane, and Thao. We might not want to face it, believe it or like it but the same mercy and forgiveness that’s available to us is available to all God’s children; no matter the race, position, or crime. Me saying that they have to serve time is just like me saying I have to be punished for what I do. If I call for them to serve time, then I’m calling for my own. Let me say that again so that you can better understand. If you call for someone to serve time, then you’ll have to serve yours too.
So does that mean there should be no jails or prisons? I didn’t say that because there are judicial systems in the Bible. But God has ordained judges, lawyers, and those who work within that system to enforce the laws of the land. Prosecutors, judges, and those who enforce the laws of the land can call for time but for those of us who are simply legal observers, should not. I know you don’t like that. I didn’t either when I found out but it’s the truth, nonetheless.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge,
you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
– Matthew 7:1,2
‘Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority
except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and
those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.’
– Romans 13:1,2
That said, you will be presented with many opportunities to call for time or to demand justice. But that not for you to decide. Those calls and demands are reserved for those who sit in those capacities. So the next time you find yourself calling for someone to be arrested or sentenced, think about your own sin because, ‘…the measure [or amount of time you request]…will be measured [or given] back to you.’
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