One cannot help but to see the tragedy that is Ferguson, MO. That is exactly what it is. It is a tragedy. It is a tragedy that a young man stole a box of cigars. It is a tragedy that as someone was being apprehended for that crime, not to say Mr. Brown was guilty, but at the very least being questioned, a fight broke out between he and a peace officer. It is a tragedy that in this scuffle that a police officer felt his life was being threatened. It is a tragedy that the police officer felt that shooting Mr. Brown was his only alternative. It is a tragedy that Brown’s family had to bury their son at the age of 18. And it is a tragedy that this police officer will now how to live with the fact he took a human life for the rest of his life. Tragedy is the only term that should be used to describe these events. In the wake that followed, tragedy again comes to mind. It is a tragedy that people thought that the best way to protest was to go on a crime spree. It is a tragedy that the media has used this story as a ratings boost. It is a tragedy that certain political advocates used this as another opportunity to get their 15 minutes of fame. It is a tragedy that racism is still an issue in this country. It is a tragedy that most seem to want to react before the facts are revealed because it was a white police officer with a gun and a young, unarmed African-American.
I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t there. I didn’t see the scuffle. I don’t know if warnings were issued. I don’t know the nature of the gun fire. I don’t know who the aggressor was. And this post really isn’t about who was right and who was wrong that night. It is more about who was right and who was wrong in the years leading up to this event and the days that followed.
The finger of blame on this night in question cannot be solely landed upon either the police officer or this young man. Yes, they both could have reacted differently I am sure. But, there are many others to blame for what happened. Where was mom and dad when Mr. Brown needed him the most. That is, where were his parents when they were supposed to be shaping their son into a law abiding, god fearing, authority respecting citizen of these United States? I understand that his parents are there now. But where were they when he was six? Four? Thirteen? I don’t have the answer to those questions. But, Solomon once said, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6).” While I realize that many children have steered away from mom and dad’s council, what Solomon is trying to say is that the general rule is that children grow up to be what mom and dad raised them to be. This can be done either by instilling hate, sin, etc into their heart by teaching them to be racist or that our society is built upon the concept of oppression. Or this can be done by not being involved in the raising of our children. Sure, we can be there when tragedy strikes, but what about before the walls come collapsing down. Too many parents today are expecting TV, the streets and schools to be raising and educating their children. Parents, get involved in your kids life while you have the chance. Play with them. Sit down and do school work with them. Read to them. Open God’s word together. Give your children hope by helping them to see that there is something more to life than what this world has to offer. I also have to ask, where was the church in all of this? Sure, there are preachers out there now proclaim social injustice. I don’t even know if that is what happened, but there sure believe that the only reason this young man was shot was because he was an African-American. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. The bigger issue is why weren’t there more preachers standing on street corners trying to help these young men repent and turn unto God. And as a preacher, I know that finger gets pointed strongly at myself. Too many preachers, too many Christians don’t want to go into those neighborhoods. They don’t want to share the gospel with that wicked of this world. They don’t want to do this because they are uncomfortable, because they prejudge. I have visited churches all across this country and one thing I almost always see is white, middle class people making up a vast majority of the churches. I once lived in a town where the minorities made up nearly 40% of the population. In the church in that town, not one minority was found. Has it that possible? Because the gospel is often shared with the person we see in a mirror. My friends that has to change. If young men such as Mike Brown are going to have any hope, the church, Christians are going to have to change their approach to evangelism. Our Lord and Savior shared the gospel with all who would here. He preached to the despised tax collectors. He preached to the religious leaders. He preached to the staunch patriots called Zealots. He preached to the poor and beaten down. He preached to the wealthy. He preached to the lepers and he preached to even the harlots. He even preached to those Samaritans the Jews hated so much. I realize that we don’t all live in Ferguson. Nor, am I calling for us to move there. I am, however, encouraging you to look to the “Ferguson” in your town. Go to those that are in desperate need of guidance, council, and hope and bring it to them. If this kind of tragedy happens in your home town, let it happen despite your best efforts, not because he continued to turn a blind eye to the troubled youth of America.