How Long?

My heart is heavy this morning, as I’ve been processing two new stories of racial injustice that have hit the news cycle in the last couple of days.

George Floyd died in the custody of police officers in Minneapolis over the holiday weekend. A video posted to the internet shows a white police officer with his knee pinning Floyd (a black man) down by the neck while he gasps that he can’t breathe. And even though the circumstances surrounding the incident are still under investigation, the scene is just so reminiscent of A long history of police brutality against black men that it strikes a nerve. #GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArberry #EricGarner #TrayvonMartin and on and on and on…

Christian Cooper was bird-watching in New York City’s Central Park when he encountered a woman walking with her dog, unleashed. Reports indicate that he asked her to put the dog on its leash, and the interaction became contentious — so he started recording her with the video camera on his smartphone, and this seemed to make the woman (a white woman) even more agitated. She then called the police to report that she was being threatened by an African-American man. And again, the public is not yet privy to all of the circumstances surrounding the incident — but again, the scene appears to be a perfectly-distilled example of white privilege, with a white woman using the police as a threat to black men who are innocently going about their everyday lives. #BirdingWhileBlack #RunningWhileBlack #DrivingWhileBlack and on and on and on…

It’s hard to know what to say or do.

It feels wrong to just “express my outrage” with a quick post to social media and then move on with my life (which I know is a cynical take on the social activity of others).

It also feels wrong to take justice into my own hands before there’s been any meaningful investigation. The police officers in Minneapolis have been fired. The woman in New York has lost her job (something in the financial industry, not law enforcement) and her dog. I don’t really know anything about any of the parties involved.

But it also feels wrong to stay silent.

Psalm 82 is a good outlet for this impasse. I don’t know how beneficial it is to blog about Psalm 82 or to post excerpts from Psalm 82 on social media. But it is definitely helpful for me to read Psalm 82 and sing Psalm 82 and pray Psalm 82.

God presides in the great assembly;
he renders judgment among the “gods”:
“How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
“The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
“I said, ‘You are “gods”;
you are all sons of the Most High.’
But you will die like mere mortals;
you will fall like every other ruler.”
Rise up, O God, judge the earth,
for all the nations are your inheritance.

Psalm 82 (New International Version)

It’s good to remember that there will be a moment of reckoning for all those who place themselves in the position of acting like “gods” and who fail to consider the plight of the weak, the fatherless, the poor, and the oppressed. God sees what is happening, and He grieves for the racial injustices of the United States of America.

And for whatever it’s worth, I also see what is happening, and I also grieve for the racial injustices of the United States of America.

Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life. He is the one who has initiated our rescue — offering eternal life that will far surpass our current existence. My recent studies in 2 Thessalonians remind me that he will snuff out the Anarchy and Destruction of our Enemy. This is why we eagerly anticipate the Day of the Lord. On that day, he will complete his harvest of salvation. “And may our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father — who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and a hope for good things by his grace — encourage your hearts and establish you all in every good deed and good word.”


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