Unless you’ve been cut off from civilization in the past week, it is impossible to miss news of mass protests, violence (including shootings and killings), looting and vandalism rocking cities across the US. The catalyst – the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

On the 25th May, a deli employee called 911, accusing Floyd of using a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Within minutes Floyd was arrested. There was a scuffle and that led to an officer placing his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes despite pleas from Floyd that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd eventually lost consciousness and tragically died.

The public’s overwhelming and united outrage to the horrific manner of his death is understandable and warranted but the dominating narrative has been more about the lawless violence than a struggle for racial justice and equality. As George Floyd’s brother sums it up, “If his own family and blood are trying to deal with it and be positive with it, and go another route to seek justice, then why are you out here tearing up your community?”.

If he were alive, Floyd would have no part in the violence we’ve seen on our TV screens because he spent years as defacto community leader, an elder statesman to a generation of young men caught up in the cycle of violence in his poor neighbourhood back in Houston, which was listed a few years ago as the 15th most dangerous area in the United States.

He had used his influence and respect among them to provide access and protection to ministries doing discipleship and outreach in the area. He also helped the church put on basketball tournaments, BBQs and community baptisms at the basketball court. He was a strong advocate on “Be the change you want to see”, hence his move to Minnesota around 2018 to be a part of a discipleship programme that included a job placement.

People knew him as a gentle giant. His pastor said, “George Floyd was a person of peace sent from the Lord that helped the gospel go forward in a place that I never lived in. The platform for us to reach that neighborhood and the hundreds of people we reached through that time and up to now was built on the backs of people like Floyd”.

The ongoing destruction and violence we are witnessing dishonours the man and the legacy he left in Houston. Violence is never a solution to violence. Jesus exemplified that. As a social commentator notes, Jesus wants us to break the cycle of vengeance, not perpetuate it (Denison). Answering violence with violence is not the answer. Jesus said, ‘…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…’ (Matthew 5:44).  We can do more but that’s the starting point.

“Lord, help us do this!”

Mark

Unless you’ve been cut off from civilization in the past week, it is impossible to miss news of mass protests, violence (including shootings and killings), looting and vandalism rocking cities across the US. The catalyst – the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

On the 25th May, a deli employee called 911, accusing Floyd of using a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Within minutes Floyd was arrested. There was a scuffle and that led to an officer placing his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes despite pleas from Floyd that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd eventually lost consciousness and tragically died.

The public’s overwhelming and united outrage to the horrific manner of his death is understandable and warranted but the dominating narrative has been more about the lawless violence than a struggle for racial justice and equality. As George Floyd’s brother sums it up, “If his own family and blood are trying to deal with it and be positive with it, and go another route to seek justice, then why are you out here tearing up your community?”.

If he were alive, Floyd would have no part in the violence we’ve seen on our TV screens because he spent years as defector community leader, an elder statesman to a generation of young men caught up in the cycle of violence in his poor neighbourhood back in Houston, which was listed a few years ago as the 15th most dangerous area in the United States.

He had used his influence and respect among them to provide access and protection to ministries doing discipleship and outreach in the area. He also helped the church put on basketball tournaments, BBQs and community baptisms at the basketball court. He was a strong advocate on “Be the change you want to see”, hence his move to Minnesota around 2018 to be a part of a discipleship programme that included a job placement.

People knew him as a gentle giant. His pastor said, “George Floyd was a person of peace sent from the Lord that helped the gospel go forward in a place that I never lived in. That platform for us to reach that neighborhood and the hundreds of people we reached through that time and up to now was built on the backs of people like Floyd”.

The ongoing destruction and violence we are witnessing dishonours the man and the legacy he left in Houston. Violence is never a solution to violence. Jesus exemplified that. As a social commentator notes, Jesus wants us to break the cycle of vengeance, not perpetuate it (Denison). Answering violence with violence is not the answer. Jesus said, ‘…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…’ (Matthew 5:44).  We can do more but that’s the starting point.

“Lord, help us do this!”

Mark