A wise “man” once said, “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering.” (Yoda) Is what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri this process? Before we start to validate points and point fingers, there is a little matter of business to attend to.
Looking at the four descriptors in the title of this post, we can quickly and easily confirm their origin, the place they first began. Let’s use Scripture to address each one specifically. FEAR; “[Adam] answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.‘” (Genesis 3:10) ANGER; “The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.’” (Genesis 4:6-7) HATE; “And I [GOD] will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15) SUFFERING; “But the Lord said to him, ‘Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.’ Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.” (Genesis 4:15)
Each of these benchmarks most definitely identify us as we enter into this world. Only One is set apart from this process and only One can keep God’s will fully. Let me be clear, it’s not you, it’s not me, it’s not even Billy Graham. The One is our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ. As I type this part, in my mind I’m saying, “duh!” However, God has also repeatedly revealed to me that many will disagree with this assumption and in the process, deny the true gift of eternal life.
Let’s get back to Ferguson. Regardless of your stance on Michael Brown’s death and Officer Wilson’s story to the Grand Jury, we have to own both sides of ugliness that this riot-driven protest has brought. Let me explain. Over a decade ago I lived in Peoria, Illinois and I soon learned that I was the minority and I feared for my safety and life. This process created an anger in my heart towards others who were different than me, racially speaking, as well as those who had enough money to afford whatever their hearts desired. I began to hate groups of people, regardless of having any specific agitation towards them. Ultimately this process led to my self-guided suffering. WHY? It all boils down to sin, mine, yours, everyone’s sin.
The only true weapon we have to combat sin is through the power of Jesus’ blood. Jesus’ little brother once said, “Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20) Is sin crouching at your door? Not sure how to answer that question? How about honestly asking God to reveal your fears, anger, hatred and perhaps the suffering that follows. Although Yoda is a fictitious character, the words he spoke in Star Wars Episode 1 are a reminder that we might be one bad choice away from repeating Ferguson’s sin in our own home town.
In summation, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal…Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:1, 4-7) Please read all of 1 Corinthians 13 to get the full effect of God’s consuming Love for His people and see how He protects us from the sin that knocks on our door. All praise and glory are His and His alone.