“No justice. No peace.” Protestors have cried across America’s major cities for the past week.
From New York City to Minneapolis to Los Angeles and in between, people have been demonstrating against police brutality in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white cop.
Pop star, Beyoncé, expressed the feelings of so many in a video posted Saturday: “We need justice for George Floyd. We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We’re broken and we’re disgusted. We cannot normalize this pain.”
On Friday, Derek Chauvin, formerly a Minnesota cop, the man seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes — was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Yet, the protests have continued. Many turning violent, as buildings are burned, stores are looted, and police trying to protect people’s property are pelted with rocks and other projectiles.
Both the actions, the calloused cop that ignored George Floyd’s cries for help, as well as the subsequent violence and vandalism by the rioters remind us of the ugliness of sin. Of its far reaching effects. Of its devastating consequences. And that both racism and retaliation are wrong.
It is totally understandable that the family of George Floyd as well as all fair minded people desire justice in this case. No right thinking person can excuse Chauvin’s egregious actions, inhumane treatment, and total disregard for human life. Police officers across America have repudiated the behavior of this racist, rogue cop.
All of us should desire justice. God is a God of justice and calls upon his people “execute justice for the oppressed” (Ps 146:7). To do good. To seek justice. And to defend the fatherless (Isa 1:17). “Blessed are those who keep justice” (Ps 106:2).
Justice, however, is not executed by injustice. We’re a nation of laws. Mob rule is not the answer. Lashing out against other cops who are trying to serve and protect only exacerbates the situation and creates more injustice. While peaceful protesting is lawful and legitimate, rioting is not. Robbing, pillaging, and plundering the private property of other American citizens does not accomplish justice for George Floyd. Nor does it eradicate the sin of racism.
Hopefully, not only Chauvin, but others who may be responsible for this horrific tragedy will be held accountable. And justice will triumph. Prayerfully, cooler heads will prevail and this senseless rioting will soon cease.
All of this is a reminder of the importance of treating others with respect regardless of our position. Of ridding ourselves of racism, bias and bigotry. Of standing up for the disenfranchised and marginalized of society. But also of remembering that two wrongs don’t equal a right. And that justice cannot be achieved by the exercise of injustice.
Because we live in an imperfect world with flawed people, there will always be some degree of injustice. While we do not tolerate it and work to minimize it, we will never totally eliminate it.
True justice, fairness, equity and equal treatment of all of mankind, however, will not occur by mobs chanting in protest marches, or changing laws, but by individually changing hearts.
Ultimately, of course, God, the just judge of all mankind will exact justice fairly, impartially and righteously (Ps 7:11).
Perhaps on a much smaller, but also more personal level, we should look in side our own hearts and evaluate our efforts in effecting justice in our relationships. In our homes. In our churches. And in our communities. God requires His people to love kindness. Walk humbly. And do justice (Micah 6:6).
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman