• Mike

Thoughts Regarding George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery

This is a letter written by two of the pastors that shepherd the multi-ethnic church that I attend.

Dear Living Water family,

Pastors Ben and Mike here.

We wanted to take a few moments to share some thoughts regarding the horrific deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. By now, you have undoubtedly viewed the videos of the senseless killing of these two men.

As pastors, American citizens, and fellow human beings, our hearts are broken for their families and for their communities. Neither one of these men should have died.

We have both tried to make sense of why a father and son would basically hunt a man down rather than call the police… or why another man would video the incident rather than dial 911… or why the district attorney would fail to press charges… or why a police officer who is sworn to serve and protect our community would put constant pressure on the neck of a man who was already in handcuffs and surrounded by three additional officers.

The only answer that makes any sense is evil. We live in God’s good world contaminated by human evil as well as angelic evil (Ephesians 2:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4). We live in a world where on many occasions that which is wrong is celebrated and that which is right is ridiculed.

Some might blame racism… others injustice… others the exploitation of power… others the failure of our political leaders, but behind it all is sin in the human heart that produces heinous acts of evil against others (Matthew 15:19; Titus 3:3).

As fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, regardless of our ethnic, economic, educational, racial or political background, we should all be equally repulsed by the deaths of these men, because they are the victims of evil. At the same time, we should be repulsed by the violence and destruction that is occurring in response. Please understand, our hearts grieve with those who feel unheard and disadvantaged by reminders of imbalances in justice. As Christ followers, we are called not to retaliate in kind but to overcome evil with good knowing that God will bring justice (Romans 12:19-21). Yes, we should raise our voices against injustice when it arises but not our fists (Proverbs 31:8-9; Ephesians 4:26).

Being a diverse body, our church family is filled with good young men of color who shouldn’t have to fear for their lives. Likewise, our church family also has honorable members of law enforcement who faithfully serve and protect our community. Both of whom worship our great God and Savior together.

We must realize our battle is not against flesh and blood, but rather the rulers, the powers, the principalities of this present darkness and spiritual forces of evil in the heavens (Ephesians 6:12). Thus, the way we fight looks different (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

We need to tirelessly stand for that which is right and good and honorable. We need to be peacemakers who courageously seek to bring people together rather than divide them. We need to be committed to justice and fairness for all people regardless of the color of their skin or the content of their bank account. We need to speak truth in love. We need to be bold yet humble.

And most of all, we need to point people to Jesus - who is the only antidote for the evil of this world. For God alone can transform a human heart from hate to love and make a once enemy into a dear friend.

In Jesus’ Love,

Pastors Ben and Mike