The Terence Crutcher shooting and the subsequent release of the police footage have once again shaken our nation to its core. Sadness, anger and heartache surround us, and these feelings further intensify when the events happen in our own backyard.
While police brutality and the continued killing of unarmed people of color have begun to bring some of the social justice issues in our country to light, it is the response from my Christian brothers and sisters that makes me uneasy.
As a young African-American male, I’ve seen horrific things done to people who look just like me. But as I look around for people who care, many people, specifically Christians, only offer empathetic prayers or even silence.
Too many times as Christians, prayer is used as a way to separate ourselves from situations we feel are uncomfortable. We feel that we can pray for something, and then we’re done, resting on our prayer laurels and washing our hands of the problem.
Don’t get me wrong: praying for grieving families, peace, unity and God to mend broken hearts is definitely needed and a big part of the solution, but as we are given the opportunity, we can do more.
We speak out against sex trafficking, we speak out against persecution of the Gospel, we speak out against abortion, but when it comes to the lives of people of color being taken, why are we suddenly silent? Is it because we don’t want to take sides, or are we afraid to let others know what we really do or don’t stand for?
Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” While many have chosen to stay neutral in an attempt to keep from taking a side, as Christians we should be leading the charge against injustice. We can’t choose what we stand up for and what we don’t. If we stand up for one, we must stand up for all.
You’re probably wondering, “What am I supposed to do?” The answer to that question is simple. There are many different ways to not only bring awareness, but change. Just speak out. We shouldn’t be afraid to speak against blatant injustice. Speak to people about what’s going on in this country. Promote dialogue between minorities, as well as dialogue between communities and law enforcement with groups. Go to forums and share your ideas on how to make communities across this country better. Start your own events to promote awareness to get people talking about finding solutions. Reusing hashtags of #PrayFor…. on Facebook or Twitter alone won’t get the the job done. In 2016, there are many people who are still unaware of the events going on. Not knowing, however, is no longer a valid excuse.
This isn’t meant to make Christians feel culpable or guilty, but it should be a wake-up call. This can be done. Last Thursday, I saw 150 people of all different races, denominations and backgrounds, who were hurt by the Crutcher shooting, come together and not only pray, but stand together as one community. There are hurt people all over this city and this country who want to know people care about what’s going on. It’s our job as the hands and feet of Jesus to pray and show them that we care by standing up with them by letting our actions speak just as loud as our words.