There is no doubt the verdict from the Trayvon Martin case in Sanford, Florida has had a polarizing effect across this country. Many people in the black community and others feel a great injustice was wrought with the acquittal of George Zimmerman. In situations like these it's hard not to be emotional no matter which side of the result that you're on.
One thing for certain is that we still have a race relations problem in this country. And because this is true, we have to be as diligent and intentional as ever to see things from God's perspective in order to move forward in love, but also with the tools and strategies to root out injustice wherever it exists.
READ: How Your Purpose is Connected to Justice
"After the Verdict" will be a special broadcast of Passion in Action TV this Thursday at 7pm ET. We'll have a special panel comprised of communities leaders who'll be discussing how to help our communities move forward positively, especially related to our teens and young adults.
Leroy Barber has dedicated more than 20 years to eradicating poverty, confronting homelessness, restoring local neighborhoods, healing racism, and living what Dr. King called “the beloved community.” Leroy Barber is Global Executive Director of Word Made Flesh, an international organization that works among the most vulnerable of the world's poor. Rev. Barber is on the boards of Mission Year and the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). He is the author of New Neighbor: An Invitation to Join Beloved Community, and Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World. His third book, Red, Yellow, Black and White: Who’s More Precious In His Sight?, will be published this fall. Learn more at www.LeroyBarber.com.
Kenny Pugh is the author of Can You Do It Standing Up? A Different Position On Relationships, which is a compilation of insights targeted at helping people make healthy relationship decisions. As a media personality, life coach, and consultant, he has a passion for establishing, enhancing and restoring interpersonal relationships. He wishes to serve as a vessel of understanding in an era of disconnected, aimless, and broken relationships, and to soothe adversities of all forms, whether practical, relational, or spiritual. Kenny is host of the weekly radio show, Chat Kafe, and is a contributor to CNN and Black Enterprise Magazine. Learn more at www.KennyPugh.com.
Johnnie Porter is a professional chaplain, pastor, entrepreneur, community organizer and counselor. He consistently looks for solutions to empower people to live healthy spiritually, financially, physically, and emotionally. Johnnie has committed his life to serving in the community, mobilizing leaders, and helping those who are overlooked and underresourced. He is also the host of the online radio show Power Up with Johnnie Porter, which provides inspiration and information to help people create positive turning points in their lives.
READ: What About All the Other Trayvons?
Join us for the live stream on your computer or mobile device at 7pm ET only on www.passioninaction.tv.
They offer only superficial help for the harm my people have suffered. They say, 'Everything will be all right!'
But everything is not all right! - Jeremiah 6:14
Injustice is not just about racism, classism, or socioeconomic disparities. It's a Kingdom issue. It's something God cares greatly about. He will hold us accountable for injustices we see that we don't address. Here's what He says:
"Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. For if you will indeed obey this word, then there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people. But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation." (Jeremiah 22:3-5)
Even Jesus said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." (Matthew 23:23 NKJV)
No Justice. No Peace.
Whether its racism, corrupt business practices, inequalities in the legal system, broken educational system, abortion, child slavery, unequal educational resources, neglect and mistreatment of the elderly, and even more, it's our prophetic responsibility as Christians to speak truth to the injustices we see and introduce change through God-inspired solutions. If you don't have any concern for justice, then you will never have peace.
READ: What About All the Other Trayvons?
Racism. Classism. Sexism. Ageism. And every other "schism" are systems designed by Satan to bring division, fear, and chaos among people. These are all deep-seated issues of injustice. They are very real schemes and have very real consequences. They are not vestiges of a bygone era or something that people should just get over. They don't go away if we try to ignore them or just not talk about them. But like God told Jeremiah 1:10, Christians have been appointed to "uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow" kingdoms of darkness. However, like Jeremiah we have to identify and engage what we are called to destroy. We can't defeat what we won't admit is real.
Purposed to Solve Problems
Did you know your PURPOSE is connected to a real PROBLEMS in the earth? God placed you here on earth to help fix what's broken with His help. He wants partnership in the planet to bring solutions to the people. But if you're distracted by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the pride of life, you will miss your opportunity to help change what's wrong in the world. You will also miss your chance to find DEEP fulfillment in this life.
Don't protest or complain about something for which you're not willing to fervently apply your constructive thoughts, time, talents, or treasures (money). Justice issues deserve and require more than just emotional reactions and Facebook posts. It's ok to get mad as long as you're also willing to get mobilized. Otherwise you're just blowing hot air and we don't need any more of that in the atmosphere.
LISTEN: Racism. Sexism. Classism. From Paula Dean to the Trayvon Martin Case
What are YOU going to do about the injustice you see in your community, city, country, world? The world - and God - are waiting for you to make your calling and election sure.
What say you? Thanks for leaving your respectful comments below...
What About All the Other Trayvons?
Last year after the Trayvon Martin tragedy occurred I wrote a blog post talking about what I'll call the "forgotten Trayvons," referring to all the young people over the past few years (and even further back) who have been killed violently and senselessly by guns and other means. Whether it's white-on-black or black-on-black crime, we have a national crisis on our hands that's impacting one community disproportionately more than it's impacting others.
READ: It's a Sin Thing, Not a Skin Thing... Thoughts on Trayvon Martin
This is not a just black problem. This is an American problem. And until we're honest with ourselves - across all ethnicities - about the root causes and very real consequences, we'll waste more time blaming one another rather than collectively and collaboratively creating solutions. In the mean time another Trayvon situation is waiting to happen right around the corner.
It's time to wake up and step up.
I look forward to your respectful comments below. God bless.
LISTEN: Racism. Sexism. Classism. From Paula Dean to the Trayvon Martin Case
There's a lot happening in our society and culture today that the enemy is using to keep us divided. Recently I did an interview with host Kenny Pugh on Brotha Live discussing some of the current headlines of today dealing with racism, sexism, classism and a bunch of other "isms." We have to be very careful when we base our connection with others on the ways that we are divided.
Click below to enjoy!
These are just a few of the 74 young people who were murdered in Chicago in the 11 months between September 2009 and August 2010 (more than 78% by gunshot). [Source: www.truestaris.com]
Also in Chicago, more than 530 people under the age of 21 have been killed since 2008 and many more have been shot or have otherwise suffered violence—often at the hands of their peers and particularly in the city’s African-American and Latino communities. Nearly 80 percent of youth homicides occurred in 22 black or Latino communities on the city’s South, Southwest and West sides—even though just one-third of the city’s population resided in those communities. [Source: The Chicago Reporter].
I wonder is God any more angry, hurt, or vengeful when violence against one of His children happens at the hands of someone who looks like them versus someone who doesn't. I wonder is He any more outraged when someone from the same culture or ethnicity murders an innocent teen versus someone from a different culture or ethnicity.
It's interesting the things we as Christians have selective outrage about. I know a lot of local outrage was expressed in several cities where it seems like violence has gotten out of control over the past few years. But the national outrage was nowhere close to what it has been for Trayvon. I'm not saying it shouldn't be there for him, but what about all the other victims who preceded him.
This may not be a popular stance I'm about to present, but the tragic death of Trayvon Martin and the hundreds of other senseless deaths of our youth (and adults) highlight a much deeper and widespread problem than racism or poverty or injustice. It really highlights the sin culture in this country as our core problem. Everything else are just symptoms of this central root.
Our society drinks the blood of excessive violence, sex, and debauchery everyday through personal indulgences, movies, music, TV, and video games, but then we are surprised / shocked / outraged when we see reality perpetuating entertainment perpetuating reality. This sick cycle won't stop until we stop it!
The root of racism is hatred, which is birthed from sin. Therefore, racism is really a sin thing, much more than it is a skin thing (satan will use any scheme to divide us: racism, sexism, classism, ageism, etc. Don't get tricked into participating with his schemes). It would then lead to the truth that Christians need to be focused on grace-based solutions, not just race-based solutions. Simply changing laws, rules, and regulations will only produce short-term, peripheral change. Laws may provide a deterrent before and punishment after the fact, but they can't prevent murder. The only thing that can prevent murder is the love of God, i.e. people who understand how much God loves them, which then compels them to love everyone else no matter what they look like. (oh, and every murder is a "hate crime" if we're using God's laws to judge the action versus just our own, but I digress...)
It's interesting that the Civil Rights movement was led by men and women of God who were looking to transform the soul of America, not just laws and bathroom signs. They understood the spiritual foundation had to precede social action, otherwise social action lacks sustainable change and lasting effectiveness. Jesus came to bring complete heart transformation, not just behavior modification or racial understanding (Galatians 3:26-28).
The Bible clearly spells out for Christians how we can collectively transform the culture into one that is healthy and viable versus broken and hurting. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is speaking to Kingdom citizens, not unbelievers: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
You might read that Scripture and be thinking that we can't spend all our time praying without going and doing something against oppression or injustice. Well, the beautiful thing about seeking God's face through prayer is that He reveals His will and provides answers to our problems. He will tell us what we need to do to strategically and systematically change the systems of oppression and injustice. Without His input man-made ideas and solutions will have minimal impact.
Many people are angry at Mr. Zimmerman and want justice served against him. He will have his day in court (before a judge or public opinion). However, God's judgment starts with the family of God (1 Peter 4:17). And part of His judgment against the church for the condition of this country and the world will be how much we prayed versus how much we protested (or did other things to distract us from the most important things). If you protest more than you pray, your efforts will be limited in the grand scheme of things.
It's OK to protest, but you better pray in advance, during, and after, so that when the protests are over, people slip back into normalcy, and the media has all gone home (until the next news making event), you will have some divine answers that will transform hearts and minds, not just man-made solutions that have little long-term effect.
I pray for Trayvon's family that God will bring healing, peace, and restoration.
I pray for all the family's across this country that have needlessly and senselessly lost a young person.
And I pray for God's church to wake up the responsibility we have to this country and the world to seek His face for His answers and stop making up our own as we go along.
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