COUNSEL ON THE MURDER OF AHMAUD ARBERY
Let’s talk about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. In light of this, many in the country feel angry, heartbroken, disgusted, and fearful. Some will not understand exactly why others feel so strongly. What I would like to do is try to explain what many people of color are experiencing, while graciously informing those who may not understand. At the core is the hurt and loss that is felt among his family and friends. This should cause us to mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15).
These familiar wounds of hurt reverberate throughout African American communities. As heartbreaking as cruel acts like these are, they come from the familiar seeds of stereotypical prejudice, injustice, and racism that still lie at the foundation of this country and the hearts of the people. It has shown up once again, and the ground is saturated with the blood of another one of God’s image bearers crying out to him. My friends, I feel it necessary to reveal my hand and explain my lane. At my core I am a Christian. A born-again believer by God’s grace through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, then I am your brother. Since we have the same Spirit of faith, we should all grieve the sin of unjustified murder and lethargic justice. Does your heart not break at the unnecessary murder of God’s good creation? There is a pattern of unarmed black men being murdered and it should cause us to cry out “How long, oh Lord will evildoers be exalted and protected? Will you not execute justice?” (Psalm 94:3-7) Over the next days, weeks, and months, we will hear more details and news on this event. Here is the counsel I would give to us. Be Angry - Do Not Sin - Ephesians 4:26 There is much to be righteously angry about with this situation: the apathy of the justice system, the senseless murder, delayed arrest, the loss of a son, brother, and friend, lack of wisdom, and prejudice. I am frustrated as well, but let us not act in our anger and sin. This may manifest itself in unhelpful social media posts or being ungracious and slanderous in conversations. We must watch out for hatred and malice that could reside in our hearts. Sinful desires know no bounds, and the one who tempts only seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. In our anger we must turn to the Sovereign King for comfort and direction. Do not give in to the sins that destroy. Rather desire justice and unity in the Lord. Be Truthful - Do Not Silence You should be aware that many are both angry and afraid. I know that stories like these often lead students who are black and brown to be fearful. I cannot count how many times someone at my church or in public has mistaken me for that other black guy. In the case of Ahmaud, this carelessness in seeing his true identity led to his death. My friends, it is ok to be honest and say that you are fearful and frustrated. It is ok to say you feel too powerless to affect anything, although situations like these adversely affect you. Be honest about what you feel, especially to the Lord, because he already knows. I encourage my white brothers and sisters, if you have black and brown friends, reach out, listen, and pray. Do not try to explain away their pain as irrational. Do not try to silence them or the issues that are clearly here. This is the perfect time to care for your brother who is hurting. What they feel is real, so listen. There is no need to have the answers to what’s going on. You may not even fully be able to sympathize with these things, but you can pray that God would “comfort us in all our affliction”- 2 Corinthians 1:3. Be Prayerful - Do Not Stop It is right to pray that justice will be served. Pray that God would use those in power to execute justice, not out of fear of man, but to his glory. May the Lord give wisdom to the attorneys, the judge, the family, and all who are involved. I am sure some of you have thought that “Nothing will happen,” or “They’re going to get off,” or even “It’s just going to keep happening.” The doubts are often hard to remove and diminish our dependence on prayer. As Christians, we must pray in the hope of the eternal justice Christ will render, not the temporal justice man may render. Seek the sovereign hand of the Lord who will work all things for good. (Romans 8:28) I do not know what will happen next, nor do I even have the wisdom to know how to address all issues within this country as it pertains to actions like this. But as a Christian, there are promises we can hold onto. Although the hands of our judicial system may often mishandle justice, the LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. (Psalm 103:6) Although this country may seem to be unsafe for people like Ahmaud, and we grow weary mentally, physically, and spiritually in these moments, the Lord is our refuge and strength, a very present help in the time of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.” (Psalm 46:1-2a) Although we may feel unsafe, the LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. (Psalm 145:20) Today we must grieve, but one day he will wipe away every tear from our weeping eye. Death, mourning, crying, and pain will be no more. They will all pass away. (Rev. 21:4) So, let us endure in hope, my friends, into the justice that has been won.