Okay, people. This is ridiculous.
I didn’t say much about Ferguson, because there was a lot of noise happening last week.
But I can’t let this one go by.
If you’re not up-to-date on the Eric Garner situation, let me brief you. Basically, Garner was killed by New York Police Department personnel using a chokehold, a maneuver prohibited by the NYPD. When the case was put to a grand jury, they ruled the NYPD officer should not be indicted.*
Hold the phone. So a police officer uses an illegal maneuver that results in a man’s death and he won’t be charged?** Aaaaand that’s when our justice system officially died.
Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
It’s not news to anybody that our government, local justice systems, and our collective morals and values are deeply flawed. And they won’t ever be perfect, because they’re all made up of people, and people definitely are not perfect. So there is a margin of error that will always be present.
We are called to justice, because we serve a just God. (We also serve a merciful and forgiving God, but you can’t have mercy or forgiveness without justice.) God’s Word calls us to act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8); we are expected to be holy because He is (I Peter 1:15); and we are commanded to love God and people (Matthew 22:36-40).
None of what is happening in the Garner case even remotely resemble any of those things.
Can Must Do
Much of the time we cannot change what happens in justice systems, though the protests that happened last week in Ferguson and this week in NY are attempting to do just that. (And in some cases, these actions are successful, but in many others they do more harm than good.) And there are a LOT of things that we cannot change in the path our nation is choosing to follow. But on a small-scale, everyday basis, it’s up to you. As an individual, do you choose justice?
Regardless of the social, political, or spiritual climate of the country in which you live, you are responsible for carrying out justice where you are able to. You are accountable to God for acting justly.
This may sound wildly idealistic, completely altruistic, and even impossible, but it’s worth dreaming about. What if every one of us, in every opportunity, acted justly? Would it eventually find its way back into the system? Would it nudge the needle on our moral compass?
What would happen if we…
Love like we’re not scared?
Give when it’s not fair?
Live life for another?
Take time for a brother?
Fight for the weak ones?
Speak out for freedom?
Find faith in the battle?
Fix our eyes on Jesus Christ?
*Oh, you may have noticed I didn’t mention the race of anyone involved. Know why? Because it doesn’t matter. A life is a life. Yes, there are more layers to this story having to do with race. But when it comes to acting justly, I don’t care what you look like. A life is a life.
**Update: Mayor de Blasio spoke with Washington officials and there will be a federal investigation of this case. A ray of justice?