This morning I wept. As I sat drinking my coffee in the safety of my home while reading the events surrounding the grand jury’s decision on the Eric Garner’s death in New York City, I started to weep…
I wept for Eric Garner. No one should have to plead for their own life as they repeatedly say, they can’t breath. I wept when I thought about the seeming “smallness” of illegal cigarettes. I wept when I read his last words.
I wept when I read Russell Moore’s article. I wept when I read what Trevin Wax had posted.
I wept for Eric Garner’s family. How do you explain this to your children? Your grandchildren?
I wept for my African-American friends and acquaintances. How do I even try to understand the depth of what they feel? I’m a bit embarrassed to say that at times I feel almost more solidarity with my African American friends then with my own kindred.
I wept for the Church. The issue of race is incredibly complex but the greater reality is the gospel has torn down the dividing wall that once separated us. Yet, why is it that we often live separate lives? We politely put up with each other on Sunday but there’s still a divide. How do we actually listen to each other without going immediately to a defensive position? How do we find commonality in the gospel that leads to unity and not just putting up with one another? How do we move beyond the cliched statements and the joking about race to actually live out God’s Kingdom rule in us together?
But most of all I wept for my own passivity. I wept for my own heart. I wept for the rationalization that crossed my mind, “If they would only… then this kind of stuff wouldn’t happen.” I wept for my own inability to understand fully what my friends must be feeling; what many African-Americans must feel on the basis of many events over the years. I wept for the deeply held prejudices in my own heart.
So I’ll live with my broken heart today, tomorrow, and the next. I can’t completely fix it. But I rest in the assurance that God can and that out of this horrific situation, He can make the church to shine more brightly pointing people to actual good news. I’m also hopeful that His work in me is continuing – that the hurt and pain I feel would actually end up making me more like the Savior who I follow. Like a receptacle that feels like it’s being hollowed out in hurt today, I’m hopeful that God will actually fill my heart with more of Him and His heart for people and what justice really looks like.