This is Dr. Paul I. Bennett.
After much soul-searching, and much contemplation, and after praying, I sense the all-too-familiar prompting of the Lord to bring a Word to the forefront during this time of national horror-based unrest. The Word of God says, “Be ye angry, and sin not…” As a pastor and a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, I don’t have the right to respond in the flesh, even though a part of me wants to. So, wisdom dictated that I wait until I could express myself, unfettered by the emotional chains seared into my mind as I watched a man needlessly die before my eyes. Furthermore, the Bible teaches us, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” I don’t belong to me. I belong to the God who saved me for His purpose, and charged me to tend His flock. First and foremost, I am a Christian. That supersedes my biological phenotype as an African American man married to an Indian woman of color, with children who physically present as black. While speaking truth, I must be as wise as a serpent while remaining as harmless as a dove. While speaking truth, I must allow God’s Words to flow through me as I walk in the Spirit, and not allow myself to choose sin by walking in the flesh. It is with a deep sense of Christian obligation that I make my voice heard, NOT to draw attention to myself, but to draw attention to God’s truth. As a Christian man of color, I subject my feelings to the lordship of Jesus Christ, and pray that He speak a WORD of consolation and truth into the cumulative heart of America, my country that I dearly love.
George Floyd was a human being! He was some momma’s son, some daddy’s boy, loved by God, and one who God loved so dearly that Jesus Christ died on the cross for him. George Floyd was murdered! I have a nauseous vacuum in the pit of my stomach as I write this. I get it! Yet the power of the Holy Ghost constrains me to be salt and light. My words cannot be allowed to incite others to amplified outrage when Jesus teaches us to be peacemakers. You might be asking, “How in the world do you expect me to be a peacemaker in a time like this, and regarding such a horrific event as this?” Beloved, that is exactly when peacemakers are needed most…during times of unrest when emotional volatility rips peace from our hearts like the entrails of the disemboweled carcass of some predator’s kill. Now that emotions are running high, and the collective gasps of the civilized resound as society recoils from being slapped in the face with the harsh reality that mankind still has (and has always had) the propensity for being animalistically evil, people are in a state of horrified disbelief at what played out in front of the eyes of millions. America watched George Floyd die before their eyes. Yet within the halls of the disenfranchised masses of black America, this is a scene, played out in real life, with way too high a frequency of repeated episodes. This has been the plight of much of black America!
What should our response be? Jesus taught us that in these last days nation (gk. ethnos: from which we get the word ethnic) would rise up against nation (ethnos). Ethnic tensions are at the level of a smoldering tinder box, ready to flare up. Our response, FELLOW CHRISTIANS, and those who are inclined to be like-minded, is that we must me the voices of salt (that preserves) and light (which reveals truth). But we cannot be the voice of hatred or bigotry, nor wrath and malice, lest we be sinfully guilty of being used by satan to add fuel to an already tumultuous fire. Beloved, our voice belongs to God, and must be used accordingly. I know what I saw on the video appeared egregious, but GOD is the righteous judge, not me, and not you. It is not my place to judge the heart of another. That right is reserved for God and God alone no matter what I saw or what I think. Replaying the narrative by sharing explosive tirades may placate the flesh’s desire to lash out and hit back and scream loudly, but is it salt (preserving) or light (illuminating truth)? Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Don’t be deceived. Your posts, tweets, and shared comments are equivalent to your tongue. Beloved if we don’t speak life into this conundrum, who will? Jesus calls us to be peacemakers.
While I am not saying that our voices should be muzzled in the aftermath of this gut-wrenching act of egregious disregard for the life of another, out witness, yes, our testimony, must always be prioritized with grace and seasoned with salt. So, if we post, let our posts, first and foremost, glorify God, and be mindful that in order to avoid fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, we must choose to walk in the Spirit. I know my position won’t be a popular one, but my post belongs to God along with the rest of me. BE ANGRY! I’m angry! But don’t let anger metastasize into sin, because all sin produces is death upon more death. Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Don’t allow words that are birthed from us and into this reality to be words that Jesus would say today, “They have lost their savor.” Speak life words. Be the salt that preserves.
Jesus also calls His followers to be the lights of the world. He said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” When people read your posts, they must see our good works that cause glory to be given to God. 1 Corinthians 6:20 declares, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Believer, our BODY (texting-fingers & posting-hands) and our eternal spirit are Divine property, and the Lord has the right to dictate the conditions of their usage. Don’t be rebellious! I know you’re mad! I’m mad! Millions of people are mad. Rioters are mad! But our actions, Beloved, must bring glory to God. We are Christians, and we are called by God to a higher standard of conduct!
So Pastor Paul, how are we supposed to be light without igniting the wafting fumes of volatility that have flooded the collective psyches of the disenfranchised? How do we speak light-words amidst a cesspool of gross darkness in our world today? God’s Word reminds us, “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” Beloved, God’s Word directs us. Proverbs 31:8-9 read, “Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” To make this light-truth a tad more focused for our consideration, the same scripture in the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation reads, “Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.” It is the Christian duty of every believer to speak up for justice for George Floyd, but not at the expense of your witness for Christ. We are the KING’s Kids…a royal priesthood…a holy nation…a peculiar and specially crafted people in order to demonstrate in our lives, deeds, and words (whether spoken or scribed) the praises of God who has called us OUT OF DARKNESS and INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT. It is the moral duty of all people of conscience to levy the weight of political, social, and community pressure on the caretakers of law and order. This is so that unlike many of the travesties of the past, the ball is not dropped on this one. George Floyd, and his family, and his country need to receive the justice that is deserved. Furthermore Christians, it is our God-appointed duty to pray for the family and loved ones of George Floyd. It is also our duty to pray for all of those who we perceive as malefactors in this situation. We are called to a higher standard!
In closing, I didn’t write this because I wanted your attention. I was simply God-instructed to point your attention to the God who judges righteously. And even when things appear to be unresolved to our satisfaction here in the earth, remember that God’s judgement is all encompassing and lasts forever. Let God be God. Let us be salt and light.
I find myself being angry and easily upset most of the time especially when I see how justice is applied to the black and brown people in this country. The charges rendered in the Breanna Taylor case were so bizarre it made me angry again. How in the world can the only charges be about someone shooting bullets randomly into the white neighbors home and not for the bullets that actually killed a black woman? I get mad and upset every time something comes up to remind me about it. I mean to the point of screaming at the TV or radio. My family thinks I am crazy at times. Anyway, I reread what you wrote about George Floyd and it reminds me of what my response should be as a Christian. “Be Angry and sin not”. Thank God I do not post negative things on Facebook but, I have to work on my tongue. I am a work in progress. I have to ask myself, What would Jesus say and how would he say it? I will continue to engage in peaceful protest and speak up for the injustice in this country. And, I will do so in a more productive manner. Hate, hateful words and violence against others and property of others is not the Christian way. I will continue to encourage others to vote in local as well as national elections and hold our leaders accountable for injustice. I know that God is the final judge and I will pray that he heals this nation and my heart. I feel better already.
To GOD be all the glory beloved. The RIGHTEOUS JUDGE SEES ALL.