The Associated Press reported yesterday,
“Former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for pinning George Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the Black man’s neck in a case that triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.”
For Christians this can trigger a plethora emotions, ranging from joy, to indifference, to frustration. But how should we feel about this event?
The answer is nuanced because of the world we live in. The last few years have been plagued with too many stories of men and women who bear the image of God who were lost their lives while interacting with the police. In the last few years we have seen cities ransacked by vandalism and rioting in response to this actions.
There are many reasons why this becomes so hard to start to process how this should make us feel.
We need to consider the black men and women who feel afraid of routine traffic stops. We need to consider the store owners in cities under immense tension. We need to consider police officers whose job is becoming increasingly harder and also more dangerous.
This is a multifaceted issue and problem. I cannot address all aspects of it, so I will simply address our hearts as Christians.
As Christians here are a few things we need to keep at the forefront of our hearts and minds as we process this.
First, while the jury handed down their conviction of guilty, ultimate justice won’t be seen this side of Judgement Day. No amount of judges, jurors, or protestors will be able to resurrect George Floyd. His family will still grieve his loss of life. But we can take comfort in that truth of Revelation 6:10 that says, “They cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’”
Ultimately God will set every wrong right. He is the only one who is righteous.
Second, Christians need to care that justice is carried out. Proverbs 17:15 says “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.” As citizens we need to care that our police and justice system actually cary out - as far as they can on earth - justice against evil.
In his post on his website, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and former dean at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said, “Today, at least in this case, the court offered justice. And so, the moment ought to prompt those of us who belong to Jesus Christ to express relief that a murder has not gone unpunished, even as we lament the fact that this trial was needed at all, that a man created in the image of God lost his life.”
Christians of all kinds should be able to affirm this view. God is a God who responds to injustices (Ex. 2:23-25) and is opposed to murder (Gen. 4:8-11).
Third, this verdict matters because this man matters. More than a symbol of justice, but as a man who was made to honor, glorify, to reflect God’s image. He was a human being who was a son, a brother, and a member of a community.
Lastly, we can sympathize with George Floyd because we worship a God who was killed in an unjust way. When Jesus went to the cross, He went to die for our sins. We rightly deserved the cross, we rightly deserved God’s wrath, yet He took that for us. One day when we stand before God we will not be condemned for our actions but we will be loved like His son.
We can praise God that justice took place, and at the same time a Man was killed unjustly.