What if Michael Brown or Officer Wilson were Christians?

It was the summer of 2008. I had just arrived into the small town of Sparta Il. A hot, summer night found a group of 5 adults and a couple of children walking down a neighborhood street. A car came up and we moved from the middle of the street to let it pass. It turned out to be a policeman who rolled down his window and told us not to walk in the street. We moved to the sidewalk with myself being the lead grumbler. Since then I have seen countless groups of folks walking down the streets of Sparta, but for the most part people stick to the sidewalks like they are suppose to.

It was the summer of 2014. Michael Brown and a buddy are walking down a neighborhood street in Ferguson. A car comes up and it turns out to be a policeman. He asks them to get out of the street. Minutes later Michael Brown is dead.

The basis of obeying a law officer is found in the 10 commandments. Honor your mother and father. We honor our parents by obeying them. They are representatives of the authority of God. This should follow us to school with our respecting our teachers by obeying them, to work where we obey a boss and to the authorities of government such as policemen. What if Michael Brown understood this Christian teaching and just obeyed the policeman and got out of the road?

That would have been all there was to the meeting if Michael Brown was a Christian.

It is more complicated than that. Michael Brown had just finished with some thuggish behavior caught on film. The officer didn’t realize this at first but he put two and two together and created a showdown with Michael Brown, who still hadn’t got out of the street.

Michael Brown as a Christian wouldn’t have robbed the store and he would have obeyed the police officer and we would never have heard his name.

What if Officer Wilson was a Christian? It looks like Michael Brown and his buddy ignored the policeman and that might have been the end of the story. But, it seems that he recognized them as involved in the store robbery (physical shoplifting). So he threw his vehicle in reverse and put it right next to the two young men.

Different stories, but a struggle ensued. The officer’s weapon was discharged. He never made it out of the vehicle. Michael Brown and his buddy move on.

It would all transpire in less that 90 seconds.

Michael Brown is not respecting the authority of the policeman. There has been a physical struggle. You have called for back up and Michael Brown is moving away. Christian man take that second to hear from God. Let the Holy Spirit direct your actions. Take that split second “to acknowledge” God before taking your next step.

The will of God is that none should perish, that gangster thug, that has disrespected you, possibly hurting your pride has a soul that God wants to spend eternity with. Take a moment to realize that, wait for backup, and handle this in a way that gives God room to work with Michael Brown to bring him to salvation and a changed life.

Leaving the vehicle before backup arrives and drawing your weapon does not end well for you and especially Michael Brown. Was that the will of God? Without a relationship with Christ Officer Wilson will carry the guilt of taking Michael Brown’s life until the day he dies.

Officer Wilson, as a Christian, surely would have found a way to stand for justice without killing the young man.

The press conference you will never see. Michael Brown’s parents taking the time to acknowledge their relationship with Christ and publicly forgiving Officer Wilson. The sermon you will never hear. Rev. Al Sharpton preaching about the power of forgiveness.

In case you didn’t already know this black people and white people see everything differently. It is only the gospel of Jesus Christ that can bring us together. These events force feed division and hatred into our minds. We can blame the media or any cast of characters we choose to; but for the Christian who is “not ignorant of his devises” we know it is a demonic strategy to fill us with suspicion and hatred.

I want to be able tell a black person about my relationship with Christ and invite him to church without him thinking I hate him. Yes, I want a black man to have the courage to invite me to his church with the knowledge that I would be welcomed there.

The ability to do that is what the devil wants to take away from us.



About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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