Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Prudent Hold Their Tongues

Proverbs 10:19

…the prudent hold their tongues.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgHave you ever had something happen in your life – and you felt compelled to say something or write something about it – only to have your words come back to haunt you? I know it has happened to me a number of times.

I don’t believe in jinxes – but I have tweeted during a game – that my team was up and on the way to a win – only to see them lose in the closing minutes. A number of times I have tweeted things that later I had to erase. At times my fingers type faster than my brain thinks. Some of my Facebook friends might say the same thing. I mean – have you seen some of the things folks have posted? There seems to be no filter for some folks.

The proverb today – in part – says – the prudent hold their tongues. This seems very appropriate as many rush to make comments about issues and events that we face in our society. Tweeting or posting on FB or not – withholding comments on things can be seen as a modern day holding the tongue.

Most recently the shooting of a teenage in Ferguson has brought out a number of comments. Of course some immediately jumped on the fact that the police officer involved was white and the teenager was black. Some people seem so quick – so ready – to make every event racial. Our country still battles with racism – it would be foolish to think there aren’t still folks who are extreme racists in our country – but every event between a white and a black person is not racial – IMHO!

Some of my colleagues in ministry have used words like murder and slaughter when referring to this shooting. I understand – a little – the pain of race relations in our country – but every event should not carry the baggage of every other event in our history. We need to dialogue – we need to have social change – we need to see every human being as a vital life – we need to know that God loves all people (even as God doesn’t love all of our actions). Maybe my colleagues use extreme words in order to bring attention to the pain – I’m still trying to figure it out. I love them – even as I disagree with some things they say/type.

There are hate mongers in the world – and some of them have descended on Ferguson – stirring up hate among the residents and those who have gathered. The riots and looting taking place does nothing to help heal or solve the divide that still exists in our country between the races. If anything – it increases the divide – IMHO.

One thing my wife keeps telling me – and my daughters as well – is that most of us – even most people – have not or will not see all of the evidence or facts in this or any case. Did the police officer fear for his life as the teenager confronted him? Did the officer act out racial profiling? In Cleveland, did the officer really believe the pre-teen had a real weapon – and was a threat to others? Was deadly force needed? I’m sure we could ask many more questions that have few answers.

One of my daughters is a police officer. I pray everyday that she never faces a situation where she must draw her weapon. I would love nothing more than for her to retire – never having pulled her weapon – except at the practice range. But – police officers – like soldiers in combat – are trained to make split second decisions for their safety and the safety of others. They will not always make the right decision – but – they are the ones who have the task of protecting a nation and a community. Are there bad police officers – even racists officers? Yes! Are there soldiers that love to kill? Yes! But they are a small minority (I have to believe this and my own experience with police officers and soldiers proves this to me).

Are there too many black young men being killed and in prison? Yes! Are the proportions higher for blacks than whites in our country – being killed and in prison? Yes! But making every event a racial event is not helping – IMHO. There are black officers who have shot and killed white teens and these stories do not hit the media. It is not always about race dear readers – even as we acknowledge a racial problem in our communities and country.

The prudent hold their tongues – so maybe I should have held my tongue/typing on this issue too. I acknowledge that race is an issue – an issue that needs addressed – even as we approach the year 2015 – but every event that involves a black and white person is not a racial issue.

I serve a multi-racial – multi-cultural – congregation in a community of the same. I say I want to love all people – as Christ loves all people. I acknowledge that I am a product of my environment – of my past – of being beaten up by a group of black young men as a teenager – but I do not judge a whole race by the actions of a few or the events of my life. I want to love all – and want to look at the content of a person’s heart rather than the color of their skin! I hope this is received in the love that it is offered.

I grieve with the family who lost their son.  I grieve with the officer who felt like he had to use deadly force.  I pray for Ferguson – Cleveland – and our country.  I pray – someday – that we can all live in harmony.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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November 27, 2014 - Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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