On Wednesday of this week an officer with the St. Anthony police department did a traffic stop on a car in which Philando Castile was in. We know hardly any of the details about what happened on the traffic stop, other than it ended with the officer shooting and killing Philando. The following evening as I was getting ready to go to bed and my news alert sounded on my phone. It said that 3-6 officers had been shot in Dallas while providing security at a Black Lives Matter rally. I couldn’t sleep, so I watched the news come in on TV as it turned from cops shot to cops killed. I woke up the next morning to the news that a total of five cops were killed.
As a cop who has a family pursuing an adoption of a black child, Johanna and I find each other living in two different worlds. The adoption world tends to be skeptical at best and hateful at worst of law enforcement. The law enforcement world tends to be skeptical at best and hateful at worst of Black Lives Matter or other organizations or people who criticize them in these officer involved shootings.
There’s so much I could say on this, but here’s briefly what I want to say to you this morning Grace Church; you who are my people. A couple of years ago I started reading books that pushed me outside of my law enforcement comfort zone that were written by people that loved the gospel. What do people who love Jesus yet disagree with me have to say about their perspective on these types of racial divides?
I think most people in this church tend to fall on the side of supporting law enforcement. I am thankful for that. However, there are people who really love Jesus and the Bible that disagree with me and aren’t so trusting of cops. I’ve intentionally read blogs by Thatbiti Anyabwile or John Piper and the book Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson to try and learn from them. These are men who love Jesus and the gospel and think black men are being shot unjustifiably. At times their writings have frustrated me. At times I’ve learned from them.
It is really, really, really easy to dig our heels into our own camps when a Philando Castile shooting happens or when cops are shot. What is really, really hard is to mourn with those we disagree with that are hurting. For my brothers and sisters in Christ, mourn with the mourning. Not just with those you agree with.
Pray for Philando’s family. Pray for the cop that shot him. Pray for the families of the cops that were killed in Dallas. Who does this except for those who love Jesus? This is the aroma of Jesus Christ to a world that is perishing. Mourn with those who mourn. Don’t just mourn with those you agree with or those who have not done anything wrong. In humility, count others more significant than ourselves. Thank God, that Jesus Christ emptied himself by taking the form of a servant and was born in the likeness of men. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. He didn’t save us after we got our lives fixed up. He saved us while we were still enemies to him.
The world can’t do this. They can’t in humility pray for those that they disagree with. We can though because we are being transformed into the image of the one who left heaven and took on the likeness of men- Jesus. The gospel is the only remedy that is the cure for this mess we are swimming in. “We are neither Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all (Col. 3:11).”