My heart is heavy. I know God is good, and that He’s in control, but my heart is heavy.
Last week after the events in Ferguson (and the responses to it on social media), I felt burdened to write a song. My goal wasn’t to make any grand statements or declarations, but to express the way that everything made me feel. So I started writing, and this is what came out. The sentiment that echoed in my mind was: “It could’ve been me.”
I had a whole post ready on how Christians should respond in times like these, but after the news about Eric Garner yesterday, I decided to wait and post that later. For now, I just want to say that I have a heavy heart. I’m not interested in debates or arguments right now. I just want the freedom to express my hurt.
I’m hurting because that Eric Garner video is devastating to watch. When my wife and I first watched it months ago, we both cried. Life is a beautiful gift, and it’s sobering to watch that life leave someone’s body — especially when it’s taken by other men. I thought, “Surely people can’t get away with that. At least they’ll have to answer for their actions at a trial.”
I thought wrong. And that hurts.
I’m hurting because it’s dangerous to be a black man in America. I know that statement alone is offensive to some people, but it’s objectively true.
I’m hurting because black communities are hurting, limping along because of many complex issues.
I’m hurting because of the strange run-ins I’ve had with the cops in the past.
I’m hurting because every black man I know has had similar run-ins.
I’m hurting because the bad cops make it harder for the good cops to do the important work they’ve been called to.
I’m hurting because I have to teach my son the same thing my father had to teach me: “People will assume you’re a threat before they know anything about you, so you have to be more careful than your white friends do.”
I’m hurting because some people don’t care. They’d rather win an argument than hurt with those who hurt.
I’m hurting because authorities are not immune to the sin and brokenness that plague the rest of us. When those who are called to police wrongdoing are guilty of it themselves, where do we turn? I rejoice because I have someone greater to turn to, and I have hope because God will bring justice in the end. But that doesn’t mean I’m not hurting.
I’m hurting because the tragedies that get media coverage aren’t the only tragedies. There are many more.
For my friends that don’t understand, please take the time to listen and sympathize. Being “quick to listen and slow to speak” is a mark of humility and maturity. Before you object, take a moment to hear from those who are hurting.
So many of us are hurting because we think to ourselves, “It could’ve been me.”
*Read the lyrics to the song here