Proverbs 16:32 tells us to be slow to anger. Eventually, anger becomes quite overwhelming and we lose direction. Why are these references to Proverbs significant today as the nation and world mourns the senseless death of George Floyd on May 25? Change is necessary, but it is important not to allow our mission to become overshadowed by the devil (Ephesians 4:26-27).
In the week-plus since Floyd’s murder, looting and destruction have reared their ugly head and shifted our focus
(Proverbs 16:29; Titus 1:7). Those who do not understand the cause immediately attacked the legitimacy of the black community’s need for answers to police brutality. When I first witnessed the violence, my first reaction was this could not happen because the ruin results in long term damage to neighborhoods and businesses that are still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following days ushered in a new atmosphere, where we became united regardless of race and religion. Our congruent strength now resembles Jonah 4:4, when the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?” As the Floyd family prepares to lay their deceased to eternal rest, ask yourself if the misdirected anger make you feel better? Or, does it leave you with comfort as you progress on path toward change? The family of Floyd have asked time and time again for us as a nation to peacefully come together and encourage the hearts of all who do not understand (Mark 3:5).
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on June 1 commended Louisiana residents for peacefully protesting the “egregious” death of Floyd. He said in the press conference that is continued to encourage people “to not engage in violence or property damage, as it is better “to focus on the changes we need to bring in our society.”
Edwards is correct. You might remember that he was governor of the Louisiana during the riots and protests after Alton Sterling was killed by a Baton Rouge police officer in July 5, 2016.
The devil is here to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). As people of God, violence as an end to result to our problems will not satisfy Him. Spiritual soldiers are showing their peaceful call for justice in these ways:
- The Rev. Robert Scott organized a rally in Baton Rouge June 5 at the Old Louisiana State Capitol for justice and a “prayer for peace” after Louisiana police officials announced “outside agitators” infiltrating peaceful demonstrations in the region to incite violence against police and local merchants.
- A protest rally in Troy, Ohio, on June 1 became a symbol of what can happen when people are willing to listen to each other and pray together. About 150 mostly young people of all races gathered in the town square to show their solidarity for Floyd. Priests for Life Youth Outreach Director Bryan Kemper, a Troy resident, asked his colleague, Evangelist Alveda King, Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn for Priests for Life, to ask her to pray on speaker phone. The crowd hushed when they heard that the niece of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be addressing them. “Heavenly Father, I love these young people,” Evangelist King prayed. “I wish I could be there right among them. They have energy. They have enthusiasm. They want to make a difference. They know they were born for a purpose. … Help them to use their passion and their anger and even their confusion for Your good. Give them true answers, turn them around and let them win, win, win because they were born to be winners.”
- PeaceablyGather.com, a growing national movement of leaders reclaiming the moral leadership of America’s pulpits, held a “Peaceably Gather Rally” in downtown Louisville, Ky. on June 2 led by pastors from black, white, and Latino congregations, and attended by Mayor Greg Fischer, police officers, and concerned citizens alike. In a stunning event in which many were on their knees, Pastor Brian Gibson announced a new PPP Plan—Prayer, Preaching, and Partnership—to end the riots and heal racial divisions.
Grelan A. Muse Sr. is founder of Inside The Pew. Responses to this column are accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org.