What words come to mind when you look at the above picture?
Here is my initial list:
As major cities across the nation are being ravaged by violence, it is worth taking a moment to recall the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The important descriptive word is “peaceably.”
The word characterizes the initial and continuing peaceful protests that followed what most regard as the lethal behavior of a police officer and three others in Minneapolis.
But the peaceful demonstrations were soon infiltrated by people with a different purpose and agenda.
Among those who were hurting, grieving, and seeking justice and change were those who hijacked the situation to destroy lives, property, business, jobs, etc. Recovery and restoration of the victims may take years. Many will never recover.
That is why the picture captured my attention.
Because the picture evokes thoughts of the good that can happen amid tragic violence, my biggest takeaway is hope.
The coordinated and planned violence across the nation is about more than destroying lives, jobs, businesses, etc. Those are secondary causalities to the larger purpose of destroying hope and belief in our way of life.
It is ironic that the violence, done in the name of social justice, pollutes the authentic message and undermines the reform it claims to advance.
We are greatly affected by what we see. I would encourage you to stay informed, but please consider limiting the time you devote to watching the tragic and vivid unfolding of evil on TV and social media.
Instead, use some of the time to think deeply about how you might be part of the solution. For instance, you could:
- Stand opposed to all forms of evil, including racism, injustice, and violence.
- Stand in support of all who are afflicted by such atrocities.
- Stand for and work toward racial reconciliation through personal relationships and service.
- Stand with all who are championing equal justice under law.
As you turn your thoughts to these noble causes, are they four stands you would be willing to take?
If they are, what can you do where you are to begin making a difference?
Be safe and courageous,
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