This virus, this smaller than small agent that has altered the way we work, even if we work, our social interactions, our ability to gather has been interrupted…by another charged incident of racial conflict and death.
I’m Larry Szyman one of the pastors of Faith Community. This headline hit closer to home--Minneapolis. This wasn’t Charleston; this is where we work, where we play, the economic engine of our region. And this callous act happened at the hands of those sworn to serve and protect, bringing with it new levels of fear and despair for many.
Here it is: a failure to see similarities. If this officer entrusted by Minneapolis had seen Mr. Floyd as his equal in worth, dignity and value, he wouldn’t have been treated like he had, even though the law called for an intervention.
The inability to see our similarity--our shared worth--is not a function of color or constitution, but theology. Ultimately, the problem is internal and theological--it has to do with our heart’s response to God and one another. In not valuing God and what He says, we don’t value those made in His image.
In the creative beginning it was God who said “Let us make man in our image” and something amazing was set in motion: the ability to create culture and architecture and sport and economies and literature.
Early in our story we strayed from the glory and responsibilities of image bearers. Cain kills Abel and our disregard for other image bearers continues with ups and downs to this very day in this very region.
George Floyd is dead today, in part, because a person acting on behalf of the state operated out of a different assessment. The wages of this sin-is death.
Perhaps you’re like me--I don’t live in Minneapolis--what about those of us who don’t? How do we live as we are surrounded by image bears? We show our heart’s perspective when we don’t treat others as if they matter to God. Murder is not an act that comes out of nowhere, it’s the fruit of indifference. It starts small: when I dismiss someone; when I’m slow to listen, quick to speak; when I embrace anger. The way of Jesus highlights that murder begins in the heart and when we share, when I share in disregard for other image bearers that makes murder possible in me and in my culture.
Righteous people will generate righteous laws. Righteous laws will only bring about healthy protection if in the hands of righteous people; it’s a matter of individuals and society, micro and macro, the single and the system. The most compelling reason to treat one another with dignity is not the law. It’s not because we’re different, but because we are the same. We all bear THE image.
I hope you find these thoughts helpful as you consider how to live in the midst of a COVID community and local unrest. If so, could you share this link with someone you care about, someone who would benefit? Thanks. We look forward to seeing you again next week for Faith and Life.
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