This is STILL breaking my heart
This is still happening.
In the very recent history we have Armaud Arbury and Breonna Taylor. Now we have George Floyd. Three names that lived. Then died needlessly. Because of someone else’s hate. Or rage. Or sin.
Why is this STILL happening?
During the second night of riots in Minneapolis in response to George Floyd’s death (Minneapolis, where I went to college and have so many good memories), this happened down the street, see Instagram post .
Why is this STILL happening?
Or this? A beautiful friend of mine adopted two children around 15 years ago. He wrote this in response to the George Floyd killing on his Facebook page:
I have a seventeen year old black son. He likes high-end athletic shoes and stylish shirts. He likes to shop at stores without bringing his dad because everyone likes to shop without bringing their dad. He is old enough to buy things that he wants and needs with the money he makes at his job; but he is too young to open a checking account or apply for a credit card, so sometimes I allow him to use mine. But when he does so, he is using someone else’s identity (mine) to make the purchase.
Do I now have to take away his independence and self-confidence by following him into stores to validate his identity?
Or do I now have to make him carry cash everywhere and risk being robbed?
If I make him carry cash, do I have to also make him carry a pay stub and a bank withdrawal slip to to prove that he didn’t steal the money?
Do I have to force him to shop entirely on line and not support local businesses like the one he works for?
Or do I keep things the same and worry whenever he goes out that he will be murdered in a parking lot by a police officer kneeling on his neck for six minutes while he begs for help and repeatedly cries out that he can’t breathe?
I’m open to suggestions because I have run out of ideas.
If you have been living with the belief that race issues in this country today are radically different than they were in 1955, please know that you have been mistaken. Read the story of Emmett Till. Read the story of Eric Garner. Read the story of Ahmaud Arbery. Read the story of George Floyd. Ask yourself if you can be sure that young black men in your neighborhood, your town, your county, your state are really safer than any of them.
Do not sleep easy in the knowledge that the FBI has opened an investigation against the officers who killed George Floyd because they saw the video of his murder. Sleep uneasy knowing that they only opened an investigation because WE saw the video of his murder.
This vulnerable post proceeded to receive banking advice. Such as:
I opened up checking accounts for my kids when they were 16 with their names with me as second person on their accounts. That gave them a debit card with their names on it. You should be able to do the same.
Get him a Debit Card separate from all other bank accounts. The bank should not charge you for the card. Use only with the money he downloads on the card. You may need to co-sign. It teaches him to stay within a budget.
He received such advice another 34 times.
Why do we of privilege not want to see what is really happening? Because we would have to own our sin. Even if our sin is our choice to not see that black men are in danger like no others. Our own sin is to stay in our comfort, not feel this truth, and find other reasons. As John posted on his Facebook page:
The news out of Minnesota is once again tragic. Another black man murdered by a police officer. If your first reaction is, “Was he in compliance?” Or, “We haven’t seen all of the evidence yet” please check yourself. Your first reaction should be, “This is tragic! Why does this keep happening?”
What was your first reaction?
I hope your heart broke. I hope you would never consider giving banking information instead. I hope you are not afraid of your heart breaking. Because…
“Heartbreak is not a mistake. It’s not a problem. Heartbreak is a holy gift–an invitation from God. Heartache is a signal to you that you’ve stumbled upon something worthy of your life. Do not run, do not turn away: follow your heartbreak.”
Following your heartbreak will change our world.
We’ve recently experienced the heartbreak of Armaud Arbury. As I write this we are deeply feeling the heartbreak of George Floyd. May this be the “line in the sand” that these heartbreaks become ending points.
Can something redemptive come from something so tragic and so wrong?
The Christ believer I am says yes.
Because I know God hates this.
Because I know too how God redeems every bit of pain.
Because I bravely pray for change. One of the bravest pray-ers I know wrote this:
And so we hear this continual upward call to His Church in every city to not only stand together but be intentional about forming friendships where folks can hear and learn from one another…When there is emotional equity/ trust built in a praying company of believers from different walks and different fellowships, there’s no saying how heaven will visit that place and change the culture of darkness. Let it be, God!
This is not me looking for the quick solution. Or the quick salve to my broken heart. Or the quick brush of hope to make me feel better. This is me believing God will redeem. This is me thanking God for camera video phones so we can FINALLY address this sin.
What we hate does define us. What we hate leads us to pray. And act. Let it be, God!
P.S. Here is the story of a helper who has encouraged me in the midst of this.