Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Social Commentary Aug. 20, 2014
Ferguson’s On-going Conflict.
A midst the cries of outrage, sorrow and anger in Ferguson, Mo., voices are being heard calling for calm and peace in the streets. The senseless murder of Michael Brown has fueled week long demonstrations and looting in this St. Louis suburb. The police have not been able to quell the disturbances and have called in State Highway Patrol officers and the National Guard for assistance. This development has not calmed the demonstrators. To the contrary, the presence of National Guard troops and combat armored vehicles has only incited them more. The death of this young man has brought to the surface, once again, the fact that racism is still alive and well in America and that Black Americans are the major victims of racial discrimination and police brutality.
Disenfranchisement, racial discrimination and police brutality is nothing new to Black communities across the United States. We have been experiencing it for decades. We have gotten used to it and have adapted to it so much, that we have come to expect it in all of our dealings with the larger community. As long as Black Americans are silent and complacent, this status quoi of poverty, exploitation and racial discrimination will continue. Ferguson is a microcosm of conditions Black Americans are forced to live in across the United States. Everywhere there is a concentration of Black people, they are policed as if they were in a concentration camp.
I am not a proponent of violence and the destroying of property and businesses within our communities. There is not a point to be made or issue addressed by destroying your own communities and businesses within them; some of which were Black owned. I don’t believe this solves the problems of the Black community or brings about justice in addressing wrongs! It only adds credibility to the negative images and beliefs of those whose minds and hearts we desire to change towards ourselves. Leaving your communities as burned out shells will accomplish nothing! Having convenient goods and services in your community through businesses, is called infrastructure! If you destroy the infrastructure of a community, the result will be desolation, poverty, crime and apathy!
As Christians, God gives us “do overs”. I thank God for second chances! And in most of our lives, we have to thank Him for, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and so on, chances to “get it right”. In society, you rarely get the chance to correct past mistakes or be forgiven for past wrongs. If I were the representative of the Black community of Watts, California and was given the divine power to effect the past events of this community. The first thing I would do would be to reverse the Watts Riot and the Rodney King Riot! Regardless of the issues of “right and wrong”, these two events did more to hurt the Black populace and set back race relations than anything else! This is just my opinion! Why do I feel this way? Because, I grew up and lived in Watts! I know what it is to not have retail stores, restaurants, supermarkets and movie theaters in your community because protesters destroyed the infrastructure! I know what it is to have to go shopping for necessities in other communities, and be looked upon with distrust and dislike for being there.
People of Ferguson and people across the United States, don’t allow the enemy of God to trick you into actions that are detrimental to your lives and the life of your communities! You want justice for a perceived injustice? Then respectfully and peacefully express you displeasure! But most importantly be willing to come to discussion with authorities and offer remedies to correct and get redress for what was done. The devil is happy to see you burning and looting your communities! He knows that while you are doing this, you have forsaken Godliness! If you continue to practice ungodliness, he’s got power over your life. If you give him power, he will lead you to ruin, death and hell! I know what it is to witness the unjust death of a friend! I know how it feels to have hurt, grief, and anger swell up inside you that you feel you will burst into madness! I know what it feels like to want to take revenge on those who injured me this way!
However, I have learned of Christ that there are better ways; legitimate ways to secure redress for the wrongs of society. You must first free your heart and mind of hatred! That means you must forgive those who have wronged you unconditionally. It takes people who have faith in Christ to take this first step. They know the reason for forgiveness is for them and that we forgive others because God forgave us first! When we were deep into our sins, God grasped us; forgave our sins and saved us by His Mercy and Grace! Not because we did anything to deserve His favor! Only because of His election to do so! We are the recipients of “God’s unmerited favor.” That’s what He does! How dare you and I who have been forgiven all, not forgive others who have wronged us!
Secondly, we must utilize the Civil System, Criminal Justice System, and Judicial System and Legislatures to the fullest, to reach our desired goals. That takes the Patience of Job! We know that corruption exist in these institutions, but you cannot fight corruption with rocks and bottles. If we cannot get justice and fairness in these systems, then we must change the system. How do you change the systems? You effect change in the system by educating, training, supporting and electing competent, honest, ethical people of faith to these positions. Channel all that energy for destruction into working with groups and organizations already working in this vein. Form new groups and organizations that express your views for change and positive growth in our communities.
Peace and harmonious racial relations can be obtained, if you truly want this! Come out of the streets and get into civic organizations and your local church body to help them work for meaningful changes through cooperation and mutual trust. May God bless you to see the folly in violent civil disobedience and wanton destruction of communities? It is my prayer that God will grant you the spirit of forgiveness, so that bitterness does not grow in your hearts. May He open your mind and hearts to fresh ideas and methods of achieving justice and peace for the Black community! If you are angry and grieving, come to Jesus Christ and make your confession of need. Allow Him to calm your spirit and comfort your grief!
Your brother, In His Service
Douglas
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