June 1, 2020
Road to Renewal
“…how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.” Psalm 133:1
We’ve used this scripture before in a previous devotion, but I thought it a relevant one in light of the tragedy in Minneapolis last week, the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer who wouldn’t take his knee off Mr. Floyd’sneck in spite of him pleading, “I can’t breathe,” andthe violence and looting in Minneapolis and other cities across America, along with the peaceful protests calling for equality and justice.
I am not qualified to offer a complete judgment of this case because I don’t have all the facts, and I’m not the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the judge,the police chief, or, for that matter, the officers themselves, but I do know this: I have seen the terrible footage of the officer’s knee pressing down on Mr. Floyd’s neck played over and over again, and I was sickened by it. Many of us wonder what was going through the officer’s mind when he wouldn’tretreat from his pressure on the man’s neck.
We also know, too, that a vast majority of members of law enforcement across our nation, in their swearing to protect and defend their communities,have done so in exemplary fashion. I personally had as friends three retired Detroit police officers who would have done anything to preserve the safety and security in their communities, along with treating each individual, no matter their color, fairly and equitably.
The peaceful protests that followed the Minneapolis tragedy have been a part of American culture since its very beginnings, but not its violence, destruction, and looting, which have distracted from the marches and protests trying to make a point: we all need to revisit our own attitudes toward race in America. In some ways, we have made progress, in many ways we haven’t.
I believe a personal examination is the best prescription. If you were to check your own biases, where would you stand? Do you see yourself as open-minded or close-minded to the advancementand acceptance of all races in American society? Is there something you need to work on internally to help you become less judgmental and more loving and understanding? I believe if push came to shove many Americans, if posed these questions, would contemplate their complicity in the difficult and divisive issues that confront us.
Christianity has always called for self-examination and self-renewal, no matter the race or ethnicity. Only then will we see a breakthrough of peace and understanding. As the Apostle Paul said in Romans: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” In the aftermath of the tragedy in Minneapolis, we pray that we can begin our journey on the road to renewal.
This will honor the memory of George Floyd.
Prayer: Healing Father, we pray for healing in our nation in the wake of the tragic events in Minneapolis last week. Teach us to care for and understand one another and to reach out in love and justice. May we follow in our Savior’s footsteps and His teachings by showing peace and goodwill toward all. Amen.