For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly. Mark 6:18 – 20; ESV
Please also read Luke 11: 37 – 52
In the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, people who are outraged over the shooting death of an 18 yr. old unarmed youth are taking to the streets to protest. They believe it to be their right to demand an answer to the questions they have and to seek justice. This, I totally agree with; for they deserve answers to the reasons why an unarmed youth is shot to death. If injustice has occurred, they deserve justice for the actions rendered. This article is not to defend the actions of the police officer or the youth involved. The purpose for this is to those who are using this incident to rage hatred, to have personal gains from a very sad event, and for those who have used/are using this event to cause evil to those who are innocent. Allow me to explain…
First of all, let it be known that the majority of those protesting the shooting are protesting properly, peacefully and respectfully. However, there are those who are mingled in the crowds who seek to invoke anger and hatred towards law enforcement and to promote their own brand of justice. It is to those cowardly individuals that I write. You claim injustice because one whom you view as “innocent” (again, I make no judgment about the youth nor the officer) has been killed. You claim outrage because the innocent has been affected. I agree that when the innocent are targeted that others should rise up and speak out and speak up for them. But please understand this very important thing: your reactions to this event are equally as wrong as that which you protest against! How can you say you have the right to use violence such as throwing bottles, rocks, using guns and shooting whatever/whoever you choose will bring justice? What right mind believes that destroying property, looting businesses and stealing from innocent business owners makes the shooting victim’s death justified? Does the use of gas bombs and setting fires in the stores bring the youth back? NO!
You have used this incident to your advantage to give you “reason” to steal cigarettes, alcohol, food and such. You destroy property “because you can” and not because they were involved in the shooting death. Tell me, which of the stores you have stolen from has been involved? Which of the many innocent citizens are to blame for the injustice gives you the right to create chaos and to threaten their livelihood and even their lives? Your actions have closed down the schools in your town. Your actions have given those who are properly protesting a bad image in the eyes of the world. And it is your actions which have turned back the hands of time to the place where America had hoped to have long moved away from.
In the Mark passage, John the Baptist was speaking against the injustice which was taking place in his time. He did not cause violence, but he pointed out the wrongs taking place. He spoke to the crowds and informed them of the sins which were taking place by the government of that time. He did not incite the people to use violence. John simply spoke out against the wrongs of that time. Herod, ruler of that time, knew John was right in his speeches and feared him because of the power of truth. He later killed John because of that truth.
The Luke passage shows Jesus addressing the injustices caused by the religious leaders. His approach was to go directly to those who caused the injustices and speak truth to them. He didn’t cause acts of violence, creating chaos and inciting riots. He peacefully stated His case while He had audience with those very people. Then He left. Nothing more.
In watching an interview on CNN, I watched Capt. Johnson passionately plead for an end to this conflict. His heart was for bringing peace back to his city and to protect the people he serves. He encourages the people to protest and to use their rights; however, he also addressed the criminals who are doing the escalating violence and thefts and stated that such actions will not be tolerated. He wants a peaceful end to this evil. I agree and am praying for this.
You might be asking, “Why are you writing about this when you are a thousand miles away from Ferguson? There are several reasons; because it could easily happen anywhere in America (including in our area), because people who are properly protesting are in great danger because of the criminal element of their area, because of the fact there are more innocent people suffering because of the small group of non-thinking fools who use such suffering to gain whatever material/social/power gains. But the main reason I write this is because the minority of the protestors who are creating the violence are wrong for acting out this way and I want it to stop. I hope someone takes this to heart and then begins to understand that the approach is wrong. You have the power to bring peace. Please do.
And for those here in this area, learn from this. Support those who are laying down their lives to protect us. Pray for them, thank them, and befriend them. And should such an incident happen here, use your rights to protest properly and peacefully, and produce an environment for justice. Please pray for everyone in Ferguson.
Please bring peace and healing. Amen.