By Tyson Thorne

June 14, 2020

GMM Large

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police on June 2, 2020 is unanimously perceived as an unjust homicide. I'd love to cite a poll with specifics, but it seems to be so obvious that even pollsters aren't asking that particular question. So with the usual caveat for those devoted to evil, everyone agrees. Almost as soon as the video of Floyd's death hit the internet, the protests began. The largest, and by far the most significant, group to activate is the new political coalition called Black Lives Matter. While I agree with the sentiment of the statement, I disagree with the groups activities — and so does God.

It seems almost cliche now, when people reply "All lives matter" (they do, even those of police officers we may dislike), or even with the patriotic "All people are created equal" (also true). It's a little like saying to people at a funeral, "time heals all wounds." It may be true, but no one wants to hear it just then. They want to grieve, to be sorrowful, and God agrees that such moments are appropriate (Ecclesiastes 3.4). The US Constitution agrees that non-violent protests are an acceptable method of grieving. On all these points the overwhelming majority of American's can agree.

Where we disagree is how far protesters can go before the demonstration becomes unlawful and, in fact, sinful. Most leftist politicians and many in the media readily excuse the violence, the mass riots, the looting, the arson, and the destruction of city property. They compare these violent and unlawful acts to the Boston Tea Party (for an excellent refutation of this kind of thinking read the article here by Joshua Lawson). An ABC poll suggests that 74 percent of all Americans agree with the protesters, which I find difficult to believe. If the poll were about the non-violent protests I would expect that number to be much higher. If it included the rioter's actions as part of the protest movement I would expect that number to be much lower. But this isn't a political site, the opinions of Republicans or Democrats or the news media or even Black Lives Matter — and I say this respectfully — don't matter at all. On this site, and in the grand scheme of history and ultimate justice, only God's opinion matters.

A large percentage of the Black community believe they are often victims of systemic racism across most police departments nationwide. They believe they are often persecuted by police through intimidation, unequal treatment under the law, and even frequent assassinations. Is that true? While it seems unlikely to me, I don't really know. One thing we do know is that Christians were faced with intimidation, unequal treatment under the law and mass extermination by the Romans. How did God want his children to behave in such a hostile, life-threatening environment?

You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people. You were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears. — 1 Peter 2.10-12

Peter tells Jesus-followers that due to the fact God has shown them mercy (even though they sinned greatly against Him), they should show mercy to those who sin against them. He tells them to avoid "fleshly desires that do battle against the soul". I think you'll agree that such desires may include rioting, arson, looting, and destruction of city property. We all dream of getting revenge on our enemies in this life time, but we don't because we understand that is God's duty on Judgment Day. Paul makes this very point to those living in the worst oppression of all — the believer's in Rome:

Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. — Romans 12.17-21

I doubt that the members of Black Lives Matter, or Antifa, or those rioting and looting will be persuaded to stop their violence and destruction and heed God's directives, but as a Christian community we ought to be proclaiming God's voice on this matter. Bad behavior doesn't justify more bad behavior, but forgiveness does justify more forgiveness. Perhaps this time around we can keep Rome from burning.

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