Value

 

value

Who is right who is wrong?

 

 

value

Who is right who is wrong?

As I see once again the tension in our streets, the ongoing racial division in our nation, accelerated by a judges decision, protests on Sunday, I am fearful, angry, sad, confused.
I am fearful for the police officers who have a job to do,
I am angry at those who feel violence is the only answer.
I am sad for those who want their voices to be heard, hoping against experience that it might make a difference this time
And I am confused, who is right and who is wrong?
Maybe we aren’t asking the right questions. Maybe the question and the answer comes from assigning value.
Not every cop is a bad cop looking for a racist reason to kill someone.
Not every person of color is a thug or a drug dealer or even guilty of a crime.
But there are facts that cannot be ignored.
Police officers who put on the uniform, are under extreme scrutiny and pressure. Identified by some as racists who murder   black men without cause.
Yet statistics and a study* by Roland G. Fryer the first African American to be awarded tenure at Harvard University proves otherwise.
Black men live in fear of a criminal justice system they feel is stacked against them.
And the fear they have of our criminal justice system is supported by statistics we cannot ignore.
In 1972 there was 300,000 people in jails and prisons in America.
Today 2.3 million people are incarcerated  (2016) 37% of whom are black.
Six million people of all races on probation and parole.
One out of three black men between the ages of 18-30 is in jail, prison, or on probation or parole.
There are poor urban communities where over half of the young men of color are under the control of the criminal justice system.
Many live in poverty that makes it difficult to secure effective legal counsel to provide discovery in cases where they might be innocent.
We have to entertain the possibility that our justice system does not always work for everyone.
justice
And that the burden of  injustice is not necessarily the fault of law enforcement.
The stigma attached to both sides involved makes it difficult for one to do their job, and the other to live without fear.
Who is right who is wrong?
To answer this question we must go deeper than the surface issues that provide a constant source of income for the media.
I believe the real issue is the intrinsic  value of all human life.
Lives that God sent His Son to rescue.
In Psalm 139, scripture that is most often used to defend against abortion, also advances the idea that human life is valuable to God from beginning to end.
No life is a throwaway life because of the wrong they may have done, the mistakes they may have made, the circumstances they find themselves in
No one should ever cease to be of value  from the womb to the grave.
Who is right, who is wrong?
With my limited understanding I’m not confident I can provide the all the answers to the questions, but I can offer these thoughts.
value 2
It is right to value every human life. Regardless of color, background, socio-economic standing.
It is right to do our part to offer understanding, peace, respect to all people.
It is right to respect and support law enforcement and the rule of law.
It is right to speak out against injustice wherever it exists not only with our voices but with our actions
It is right to call for reform in our criminal justice system, to support and vote for those who will advance that cause for all people.
value 3
It is wrong to to define a human beings value based on the color of their skin or the job they do.
It is wrong to disrespect, mistreat, criminalize,  minimize,  judge anyone’s value for the same reasons.
It is wrong to disrespect and rebel against lawful authority.
It is wrong to exploit those; (politicians take note), 
who cannot defend themselves,
who live in poverty,
who are disadvantaged,
who areunable to speak for themselves,
to look the other way,
refuse to defend those who cannot defend themselves,
to not speak up.
What I do know is until we are willing to respect the value of a person, to reach out to their situation with the love and goodwill we have been shown by our Creator, it will not change.
Each of us more than the worst we have done…
In need of God who heals.Who values every life….
*An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force
Roland G. Fryer
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About messagefromthefield

“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. I believe everyone has a story to tell and more than we know, we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement a time of great unrest and change. The dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that would lead me as Bilbo Bagging in the Hobbit wrote “there and back again” ( ironically the Hobbit was published on September 21st 1937 the same day as my birthday although not the same year). On that October day in 1978 when I was miraculously and wonderfully saved it would naturally follow that I would take that love of music and use it to serve the One who created music. But that is a story for another time. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story ends and the story that goes on forever begins! I love these words that will keep me going through good days and bad, ever headed to that place where the Spirit and the Bride even today says "Come". And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.... and the promise for all who follow Him " I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!
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